This is a masturbatory summary of how my credit / wealth situation has changed in the last few years.
CreditKarma Score: 760
This is up a few points from last year, which may be due to CK's change in algorithm to Vantagescore 3.0, or just the aging of my credit history. I have more / higher credit lines now, but I have never kept a balance, so I wouldn't expect it to change all that much.
|Creditor||Card||When I Use||Rewards||Cash Back Promo||Annual Fee|
|AMEX||Blue Cash Everyday||Groceries||3% Supermarkets..||$100||$0|
|BarclayCard||Arrival World||Dining and Travel||2.2% dining/travel||$200||$0|
|BarclayCard||Aviator Red||American Airlines||2% American Airlines||40,000 Miles||$89 (ask to waive)|
|Chase||Chase Freedom||Seasonal||5% rotating||$100||$0|
|Discover||Discover It||Seasonal||5% rotating||$100 Amazon||$0|
|Orbitz||Orbitz Rewards Card||Orbitz||additional 5% in Orbucks||$50||$0|
I use my Barclay Arrival World most frequently, since the bulk of my spending is on restaurants, and I won't keep extra cards in my wallet just so I can get 1% more cash back on something every now and then. Many of these cards I only opened for the promotions, and just sit in my archives aging to better my credit score (The age and amount of credit are two major determinants of credit score). Transunion is still reporting about a dozen hard inquiries which really hurts my. Hopefully by the time I need a loan, these won't affect my score any more.
From April-June they replace my Barclay card in my wallet for 5% on restaurants. Even cards with annual fees don't usually beat 5%, so these are nice to have, even if I hardly use them when it's not restaurant season.
My new Orbitz card is pretty great. When I look for flights, I end up booking on Orbitz because even without their card, they have a rewards program and as many offerings as anyone else. It's not a great rewards program- you can only put Orbucks towards select hotels, and the points expire quite fast. But they are applied automatically, and Orbitz is my preferred travel site. To me, the Rewards card was just $50 and an extra 5% on what I already do anyway. Orbitz also has frequent 10-15% off booking promos, so the rare times I do book hotels, I book through them.
The Paypal card is the worst card I've ever had. I can't even schedule automatic payments.
Applying for credit as soon as you can get it is wise because:
- The older your credit history, the higher your credit score
- You have more time for your credit score to bounce back from hard inquiries
- You'll have some credit at your disposal!