First-timer needs helping finding a credit way over my head!

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First-timer needs helping finding a credit way over my head!

Postby honduras7373 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:52 pm

Hi everyone, this is my first post and i’m sure it’s a fairly common one, but I could really use some help and you all seem like quite a knowledgable group.

I’m searching for my first real credit card. I’ve spent the last hour or so trying to do the research on my own, but there are seemingly unlimited options and I’m completely overwhelmed.

Here’s my situation: i’m 24 years old, a couple years out of college. no debt and i make $70k a year. . I plan on using this card solely for the rewards, as I have ample savings and don’t need to use the card for an actual line of credit. I simply want to capitalize on the money i spend daily, such as groceries, bills, restaurants, etc. I live in NYC and don’t drive, so gas rewards mean nothing to me.

I love to travel but only get to do so occasionally. I would consider a cash back card or a travel rewards card, but have NO IDEA how to narrow down the options. Not sure if this is relevant, but I use Charles Schwab high yield checking and bank of america as my primary accounts right now. The credit card i want to replace is a student card through BofA.
My credit score is a decent 721 because i opened a student credit card with an $800 limit a couple of years ago to start building my credit rating, but I don’t get rewards of any sort and I know it’s time to make a change.

Can anyone point me in the right direction or recommend a card for someone in my situation? Every card description I read is really specific and I can’t begin to make a decision that I feel requires a more nuanced understanding of how rewards programs work. Thanks in advance for all your help, guys.

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Postby MemberSince99 » Thu Jan 09, 2014 4:51 pm

Ask BofA to PC (product change) your current student card to their travel rewards card. That gives you a no fee travel card that still gives rewards on groceries (gas you don't care about) and everything else.

They will probably do an inquiry for the PC from what I've read, so make sure they give you a nice increase in the limit to make up for it.

That would be a terrific start. It gives 3% on gas 2% on groceries and 1% on all else and has no foreign transaction fee. Should be good for starters. From there you can decide what else would better suit your needs. It just depends on you and your lifestyle and what you are looking for.

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Postby Paavo » Thu Jan 09, 2014 5:05 pm

Your first step, before even thinking about other options, would be to PC your student card into regular BankAmericard Cash Rewards card (or Privileges version of the same, if you $50k+ on your accounts).

Afterwards, consider adding for example AmEx BCE and/or Discover IT to maximize cash back. For international travel, BoA Travel Rewards card has no foreign transaction and annual fees.

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Postby takeshi » Fri Jan 10, 2014 8:45 am

honduras7373 wrote:Every card description I read is really specific and I can’t begin to make a decision that I feel requires a more nuanced understanding of how rewards programs work.

In addition to the above you need to go back your needs/wants and then use that info to find suitable solutions. For rewards, determine your major spend categories and then find rewards cards that suit your spend. It will definitely be overwhelming if you go out and consider every possible option no matter what topic you're deciding on.

Once you've narrowed down the options you can start digging into details on the specific rewards programs versus trying to understand the details of every single rewards program out there.

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Postby wiivile » Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:20 pm

For a New Yorker, the best card is the U.S. Bank Cash+ card for 5% cash back on restaurants and fast food with no Annual Fee (as well as 2% on groceries or drug stores). In second place is the Chase Sapphire Preferred which only gets 2 points for dining, but also 2 points for travel in exchange for a $95 annual fee.
    Chase Sapphire Preferred Visa Signature: 11/2013, $15,000 CL
    Chase Freedom Visa: 11/2009, $4,700 CL
    U.S. Bank Cash+ Visa Signature: 11/2013, $11,200 CL

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