Throughout my college years I always received random pre-approved credit cards in the mail. They all ended up in the same place, the garbage. Without a steady job I knew a credit card wasn’t a good idea in my situation. I had friends and family who got in trouble with credit cards at a early age and are still paying for their mistakes today, literally. Now that I am a college graduate with a steady fulltime job I find myself struggling to obtain one of those cards that got thrown ever so nonchalantly into my garbage can. I’ve been rejected twice by major credit card companies for the very same reason, No Credit History. Which, in my mind, raised a very large and obtuse question mark. How do I build credit if you won’t give me a credit card?
After doing some quick research online I found a few tips. A couple of the articles I read recommended to look into a secured credit card. A secured credit card requires a significant deposit that becomes your line of credit. If I put down $500 I can charge up to that amount on the card. Another option that seemed to be prevalent in my research was to simply talk to a representative on the phone. Apparently credit card companies are supposed to be very understanding and serviceable and are willing to work around your problems. Armed with my new found knowledge I decided to call up the credit card company in question.
After 15 minutes of elevator music and pacing around my apartment I was greeted by a call center representative who seemed uninterested in anything that didn’t involve getting me off the phone. I explained my dilemma to her and inquired about the different options I discovered in my research.
Does your company offer a secured credit card?
So your company does not offer a card that requires a deposit for people in a similar situation as myself?
Is there anyone I can speak to that can maybe review my application and make a second decision if I met certain criteria?
Rather than playing the No game any longer I decided to re-evaluate my situation. There was probably a credit card out there somewhere I could get approved for, but I didn’t want jeopardize my credit score. Too many credit checks in a short period of time could raise a red flag to potential creditors. While they can’t see if I was getting rejected for credit cards they could probably infer it. They have access to see who is requesting my credit, and with a bunch of credit card companies checking my credit in a short period of time, that could mean I was having trouble getting a credit card. Plus I was dead set on a couple of credit cards. If I had to get a credit card it was going to be one that worked for me. A rewards card that offered ample cash back with no annual fees and a decent interest rate.
To explain my situation a little bit, I’ve had an apartment lease and gas, water, electric, and cable bills in my name for a little longer than 6 months with no missed payments. I’ve also being using a Visa Debit Card for purchases over the last 4 years almost exclusively with very minimal overdrafts. All of this was not enough to get accepted for the credit card advertised as requiring Limited or No credit Score.
I am at a pivotal time in my life where large investments are lurking around the corner. How can I make these large purchases without getting hosed by terrible interest rates? I quickly realized building my credit is a must and began planning for My Credit Journey. I have to wait 6 months before I can apply for the credit card again. This gives me ample opportunity to start building and establish my credit. Over this 6 month period I will share various techniques and tips that I will employ to build my credit. Feel free to offer any tips that may have worked for you below. Stay tuned, I already have a few in mind.
Photo Credit: Fotero