Author Topic: Advice about a credit card & building up credit?  (Read 1199 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Advice about a credit card & building up credit?
« on: October 24, 2016, 06:34:01 PM »
So DH and I are hoping to buy a house in the nearish future (1-2 years) and are presently saving up in something called a "dreamsavers IDA" account. Every $1 we put in, they put in $3. It's not a scam (my parents work for the company, so I kinda know...). If you're wondering how we're getting that kind of interest it's probably because we're technically "poor" so we qualify (although, we almost didn't, but they stopped counting retirement so yay!).

That's off topic a lil' though, so sorry. My point is we're saving for a home. We're coming from a zero credit standpoint, so we're not worthy of a loan. It doesn't matter that we have zero debt, paid all our bills on time for 8 years straight, and have an emergency fund. We have to play the game to prove we can pay money, so here we go!


To get to the credit card/credit point -  I applied for a credit card through our bank (USbank, no, I didn't research nor think about this much...I just did it). They made it sound like we were denied, and at the end of the denial, they suggested we apply for a secured credit card. So I did.

THAT didn't even approve us right away, which is kind of sad, since I had to give them $300 upfront (also through USbank).

Anyway, a couple weeks later I got TWO credit cards in the mail. Yes, we were approved for both after all. Only, I don't want both. We just need one (I think?). Obviously, I'd prefer the no annual fee, cash rewards card and love to kick the secured card to the curb and get my $ back.

So, we've been using the regular ol' rewards card since March. The secured card, however, is just sitting in my kitchen - with junk mail - not activated and hanging on to my $300 (and...we're not rich, so I'm kinda sad about that).

I'd love to cancel that card, but that'll screw our already less than impressive credit, right? Does it even COUNT as cancelling if it's never been activated? Are we already screwing our credit by never activating/using it?

Thanks in advance!


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Advice about a credit card & building up credit?
« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2016, 07:24:56 PM »
Go ahead, activate it, and use the crap out of it.   Ultimately, your credit score is based if you have a demonstrated history of using credit responsibly.  So start building a history. 

I suspect after a year or so, you can call them and ask that the secured card be changed into a non-secured card.   


  • Bristles
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Re: Advice about a credit card & building up credit?
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2016, 05:45:50 AM »
Activate the secured card!!! - Take the secured one and ask in 6 months if you can unsecure it or transfer it to a different type of credit card more beneficial
Both of you need to apply even if the other one can't get anything but a secured card to start.  You BOTH need history going forward
Use it for everything possible.  In 6 or 10 months, try applying for something else. 
But don't close any of your cards.  Any credit card that gets closed you will loose your history.  Many places will transfer it to another type of card.
don't go over 50% useage of your total credit limit.  it can raise red flags due to the high useage
Some people will take out a small personal loan.  By doing this, you show that you are able to successfully pay back another type of credit over a short term, and these tend to show up on your credit score even when finished i think.  Its something to consider once you have a bit of history if you feel you really need to flesh it out a bit.
Its going to take time.  Don't apply for 4 or 6 cards at once.  Stick it to just one or two at a time.  goal would probably be 2 cards each. 
you also don't want a lot of credit limit available(talking 10's of thousands) since some people are concerned you could charge up big amounts right after getting something like a mortgage and not make payments


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Location: Southern California, USA
Re: Advice about a credit card & building up credit?
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2016, 08:02:22 AM »
What the above say.

Pay off the cards in full every month. It hurts your credit if you carry a balance.

After 6 months or so call them up and ask for a credit limit increase on the non-secured card. Ask that it be done with a soft credit pull (look up lifehacker for the phone script). If they refuse, hang up and try again in a month. One factor in a credit score is your total credit so getting it increased is very important.


  • Magnum Stache
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Re: Advice about a credit card & building up credit?
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2016, 08:17:59 AM »
When I was young and had my first credit card, I put a post-it note on it with the running balance so I could write each balance when I made a purchase. It helped me keep track of my spending without logging into anything online. And increased the pain associated with each purchase as I saw that number go up.