Looking for a second card

Discuss the Visa & MasterCard payment networks as well as cards that operate through them.
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DaveAZ
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Looking for a second card

Postby DaveAZ » Wed Sep 23, 2015 5:34 pm

I am looking for a second card, mostly to improve my credit.

I currently only have a Citi AAdvantage mastercard. I liked the skymiles program and have used them for many trips. I'm not interested in travel right now because I have no travel companion, so I've accumulated enough miles for the time being. It has a 12500.00 credit limit, and I received a letter offering to increase that limit. I don't know if it would help or hurt my credit to do so at this point.

Per my card's free Equifax FICO score, I am at 727. I have one negative on my credit report, which should be falling off soon.

I spend approximately 18,000 a year and never carry a balance. Most of my expenses are groceries and utilities. I don't use much gasoline and I don't dine out often.

My first thought is a cash back card. I have looked at the points rewards cards and I do not favor them, but would consider them if their reward was greater than the cash back cards. What cards offer the most cash back for my situation? Feel free to ask questions if you need more information.


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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: Looking for a second card

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:47 pm

Where do you buy groceries - at a traditional grocery store, or a warehouse club or superstore? Even though two stores may sell a very similar mix of goods, the exact category the merchant falls into has a big influence on whether you earn a special rewards rate.

Amex Blue Cash Preferred comes to mind. It has a $75 AF but you can earn 6% cash on up to $6k of "traditional" groceries a year ($360). It also has various "offers" (electronic credit card-linked coupons) that can be useful.
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DaveAZ
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Re: Looking for a second card

Postby DaveAZ » Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:17 am

Amex Blue Cash Preferred looks good, but most of my groceries are at Fry's, a Kroger chain store. Right now that may be only 3k a year. $180-75=$105, not much of an enticement.

2% of the original $18,000.00 is $360.00. Citi double cash mastercard offers that with no annual fee. I don't know if I would be approved for a second Mastercard from the same bank, or if my credit currently qualifies for that card.

I have a Fidelity account, so their 2% Amex card sounds interesting... unfortunately I made the max contribution for the year already when the market plunged.

Are there other 2% (or better cards) that I'm missing?

takeshi
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Re: Looking for a second card

Postby takeshi » Thu Sep 24, 2015 8:32 am

DaveAZ wrote:It has a 12500.00 credit limit, and I received a letter offering to increase that limit. I don't know if it would help or hurt my credit to do so at this point.

Mostly depends on how the increased limit would impact your reported revolving utilization. Utilization is balance(s) / limit(s) so you can easily do the before and after math to see the impact. However, we really can't tell you that you'll get X points for a Y change in utilization. Generally speaking, the bigger the change, the bigger the impact.

DaveAZ wrote:I spend approximately 18,000 a year and never carry a balance. Most of my expenses are groceries and utilities. I don't use much gasoline and I don't dine out often.

My first thought is a cash back card. I have looked at the points rewards cards and I do not favor them, but would consider them if their reward was greater than the cash back cards. What cards offer the most cash back for my situation? Feel free to ask questions if you need more information.

In addition to the question of "where do you buy groceries?" above -- since rewards are based on merchant coding -- we need a better idea of the volumes that you run through your major spend categories.

The BCP is a good suggestion if your spend is suited to its caps. If your grocery spend falls under the caps of the Sallie Mae it could be a better fit. Definitely consider total cost/benefit (i.e. rewards - AF) when comparing. Utilities typically isn't a spend category but there are possibly a few cards that offer it. IIRC the Huntington Voice still offers 3% on utilities but I don't know much about it.

If the majority of your spend is non-category you may be better served with a card that offers 2% on all spend.

As for points and miles cards that takes a lot more analysis and you have to look at the redemption options for each program to ensure that you can make the most value per point/mile as well as running the numbers for your spend.

DaveAZ wrote:Per my card's free Equifax FICO score, I am at 727. I have one negative on my credit report, which should be falling off soon.

How soon? Ideally you want to apply when your credit is in its best possible shape. If the negative is falling off soon you may want to confirm that it is gone before applying for anything.

DaveAZ
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Re: Looking for a second card

Postby DaveAZ » Thu Sep 24, 2015 7:34 pm

In April/May/June 2009 I was late 30/60/90 on mortgage payments due to a MHA application, which was wrongfully rejected.
The account was closed, The lender changed names due to negative publicity as a predator lender (now "Ally") and I contested the reporting with the three bureaus. TransUnion deleted it, the other two did not.
The 7 years ends April/May/June 2016.
I wish there was a way to know which (if any) creditors use TransUnion to increase my odds.
Citi likely uses Equifax, as they offer scores to cardholders through them.

I called about the credit increase for the AAdvantage card. They bumped me a big $500.00. It sounded like the guy on the phone could have done better, but I could barely understand him due to his accent and his headset.

The Citi double cash Mastercard looks like my best bet, as my spending habits don't seem to lend to big numbers in any specific merchant coding segments. I'm going to apply by phone. Hopefully I qualify. Some websites claim you need 600+, others claim 800+. If not, I can wait a year.

Thanks for the advice!

DaveAZ
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Re: Looking for a second card

Postby DaveAZ » Thu Sep 24, 2015 8:00 pm

They approved me over the phone. :) The only downside is having only two cards from a single creditor means I can't play the balance transfer game. I have never been in that position, so hopefully I will not ever need to.

Vermonster
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Re: Looking for a second card

Postby Vermonster » Thu Sep 24, 2015 8:47 pm

DaveAZ wrote:Amex Blue Cash Preferred looks good, but most of my groceries are at Fry's, a Kroger chain store. Right now that may be only 3k a year. $180-75=$105, not much of an enticement.

2% of the original $18,000.00 is $360.00. Citi double cash mastercard offers that with no annual fee. I don't know if I would be approved for a second Mastercard from the same bank, or if my credit currently qualifies for that card.

I have a Fidelity account, so their 2% Amex card sounds interesting... unfortunately I made the max contribution for the year already when the market plunged.

Are there other 2% (or better cards) that I'm missing?


The BCP will still net you 1% on the remaining $15k you put through it so your total net value is 0.06(3,000)+0.01(15,000)-75=255 I would call that the theoretical minimum. Every dollar of that $15k spent on grocery over the estimated $3k, or on gas is extra rewards. Plus there is a signup bonus for the BCP, but not the DC.
Chase Freedom $9k~~Chase Sapphire Preferred $6.5k~~Amex Blue Cash Preferred $12.4k~~Citi Double Cash $4.7k

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CarefulBuilder14
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Re: Looking for a second card

Postby CarefulBuilder14 » Fri Sep 25, 2015 7:52 pm

I'm confused as to where you're spending, if groceries are only $3k. $15k would be an awful lot for utilities and light dining/gas.

I guess you've already settled on Double Cash, though.
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Kevin86475391
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Re: Looking for a second card

Postby Kevin86475391 » Fri Sep 25, 2015 11:29 pm

I was actually going to recommend the Double Cash. I have it and love it!

DaveAZ wrote:I'm not interested in travel right now because I have no travel companion, so I've accumulated enough miles for the time being.


I rarely travel too, but on the odd occasion when I do, I simply love traveling alone! It's hard to beat exploring a new city on one's own IMO! I've had nice trips with other people, but my best trips have been alone. It's so nice choosing where you go and how long you stay there. Along with travel, museums are at the top of my list of things that are better alone, and of course local museums are a fun thing (to me anyway) to check out when visiting new places.

Anyway, that's just a tangent. Congrats on the new card! I wouldn't worry about not being able to play the balance transfer game - I mean especially if you don't need to - but also if the time ever does come that you do need to, it'll probably be beneficial to apply for a new card geared specifically to BTs and also to have the full length of 0% APR available.

If you want to branch out from other lenders eventually, I've had great experiences with the Discover It, Chase Freedom, and Bank of America Cash Rewards cards. None have annual fees and you'll be able to get 1%-5% cash back depending on the categories (rotating with Discover and Freedom). The BofA card in particular I was going to recommend for your situation since it's good for groceries (also 2% cash back for groceries), but I think the Double Cash is a better option for you than those.

The non-preferred, Blue Cash Everyday from Amex might also be a good eventual option. The non-preferred doesn't have an annual fee, but only offers 3% cash back on grocery, but to $6,000. So if you spent about $3,000, you'd net $90, which is $15 less than the $105 scenario with the preferred, but personally it's the option I'd rather go with since I'm averse to annual fee cards. Indeed the BCE is the only Amex card I'm remotely considering ever getting, but not for at least another year or so if ever.

DaveAZ
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Re: Looking for a second card

Postby DaveAZ » Thu Oct 01, 2015 2:09 pm

CarefulBuilder14 wrote:I'm confused as to where you're spending, if groceries are only $3k. $15k would be an awful lot for utilities and light dining/gas.


I am equally confused by it, which posed a problem with other cards. My spending habits are erratic based on needs more than wants. I don't want a credit card to dictate the best time to purchase specific things, any way.

Kevin, thanks for your reply, too. I have traveled alone, but I definitely enjoy companionship while traveling more.



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