How I achieved 760 FICO credit score in just over 2 years

How I achieved 760 FICO credit score in just over 2 years

My credit journey has now lasted for 2 years and 10 months, and I’m in the mood for reflecting on the journey thus far. I did a lot of research about credit along the way, especially in the first year, to make sure I could achieve the most, credit-wise, in the shortest amount of time. And at this moment, I am about exactly where I wanted to be, and in just about the best position there could be for someone with 2 years and 10 months of credit history.

760 FICO credit score has long been considered a hallmark of excellent credit, and I hit it about 3 months ago.

FICO score 767
From MyFICO Score Watch

Continue reading How I achieved 760 FICO credit score in just over 2 years

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Step-by-step guide to build credit in one year

I have written this guide as a balanced approach to building credit if you are starting out. It is not intended to give you the maximum credit score, since that would require that you know perfectly how to manage credit from the beginning, an unrealistic expectation. If you follow this guide, at the end of the first year you should have a solid credit history that would allow you to get approved for most credit cards and obtain reasonable interest rates on auto loans.

Continue reading Step-by-step guide to build credit in one year

10 reasons to use your credit card – Part 1: security


Update: the recent Home Depot security breach kicked the importance of this up one notch.

Continue reading 10 reasons to use your credit card – Part 1: security

Bank of America just reduced my card’s APR!

Back in January I shared with you my personal experience with Bank of America throughout my credit journey: https://hiepsfinance.com/2013/01/30/bank-of-america-is-awesome/ . To sum it up, Bank of America has done all the good things for me: gave me a secured card with cashback rewards, unsecured it and eliminated the annual fee a year later, and then raised the credit limit six-fold! 2 days ago I took another step further and asked them to lower my APR of 20.24% typical of secured cards but a little high for a non-secured card.

The representative looked at my profile to see if my account would be eligible for a lower APR. Sure enough, she came back with a new interest rate of 11.99%, the lowest in my current credit card portfolio by a wide margin!

Let me clarify why I asked for a lower APR. I didn’t ask for an APR lowering because I planned to carry a balance; I wanted a low APR in case of emergency when I may have to make a large purchase without sufficient cash. If I had a house struck down by lightning for example, I’d need some cash flow available immediately to start rebuilding, and if I had just paid a large medical bill I probably wouldn’t have the cash at my disposal right away. In that kind of scenario, the BofA card with a relatively reasonable APR would come in handy.

I may give BofA another call in a few months to see if they can bring the APR down to below 10% – that would be the last thing I need from Bank of America for this incredible Cash Rewards card.

BofA BankAmericard Cash Rewards card
BofA BankAmericard Cash Rewards card

I am a loyal customer of Bank of America, at least for their credit card and banking products. If you are still looking for a bank to get your first credit card from, seriously consider BofA.

Hope you have a great weekend!

Best,

Richard (Hiep Tran)

Today’s feature: Bank of America BankAmericard secured credit card review

In the credit card universe, Bank of America is perhaps the most underrated. Despite being the 3rd largest credit card issuer in the United States of America, and bearing a really cool name, they are not often known for generous credit card offers. I wish they did a better job promoting their products since some are quite exceptional. One such an example is the BankAmericard Cash Rewards secured credit card.

A real credit card should not have the word "Debit".
It doesn’t say “secured”, but it is a secured card.

Continue reading Today’s feature: Bank of America BankAmericard secured credit card review

Can international (F-1) students / non-resident aliens (H-1B visa holders) apply for credit cards?

Yay! I'm an alien!!!
Yay! I’m an alien!!! Cool, huh?

Absolutely! I applied for my Bank of America BankAmericard secured credit card as an H-1B visa holders, and I wish I had obtained my first credit card when I was an international student at Colgate. By the way, to my American readers who may not be well-versed about immigration stati, any foreign citizen that is living in the US is classified by the IRS as an alien. Those like me that don’t have permanent residency either are called non-resident aliens. Someone from the IRS has a good sense of humor.

I know that I asked myself this question at some point while being a college student, and so did many of my friends who were international students. So for the future generations of international students, let’s settle this once and for all. The answer is, again: Yes you can! Continue reading Can international (F-1) students / non-resident aliens (H-1B visa holders) apply for credit cards?

Today’s feature: Bank of America’s BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards credit card review

Odd-category rewards credit card
Odd-category rewards credit card

From my experience with their consumer products, Bank of America is an unusual credit issuer. They have many fantastic credit cards without putting much effort in promoting them. The BankAmericard Cash Rewards and Travel Rewards are two examples. Recently, Bank of America rolled out another card in the BankAmericard series: BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards. I’ve never quite seen another card like that : instead of rewarding you for spending, it rewards you for paying balances. Let’s take a look at this hidden gem.

(Edited on 4/11/2013 to clarify the rewards requirements: paying off the statement balance will also qualify you for the rewards.)

Continue reading Today’s feature: Bank of America’s BankAmericard Better Balance Rewards credit card review

Today’s feature: Bank of America BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card review

One of the most lucrative travel rewards credit cards
One of the most lucrative travel rewards credit cards

I reviewed Bank of America’s BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card in this post: Anatomy of a credit card: Bank of America BankAmericard Cash Rewards review

Next in the line is Bank of America’s BankAmericard Travel Rewards card, one of my favorite credit cards, and one of the most under-rated rewards credit cards.

Continue reading Today’s feature: Bank of America BankAmericard Travel Rewards credit card review

Bank of America’s credit cards: an insider’s view

Last week, I featured Bank of America’s BankAmericard Cash Rewards credit card, compiling most relevant information that is more or less public, meaning that you can obtain the information without actually having the card. As an actual cardholder, I have the advantage of knowing exactly what’s inside Bank of America’s online banking system, what other benefits a BofA card offers, as well as the details of the card’s features.

Continue reading Bank of America’s credit cards: an insider’s view