Today’s feature: Discover It credit card review

2 years ago, when I had just started this blog, the Discover More was one of the first credit cards that I reviewed. Since then, Discover Financial Services has replaced the card with the Discover It which is in many ways the same as the Discover More. I personally still have the Discover More, but most people these days have already switched over to the Discover It. It is about time I reviewed the Discover It as well.

discover-it-web-page-header

Continue reading Today’s feature: Discover It credit card review

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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

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

How do I improve my FICO credit score in a month?

Even though I said that a good FICO credit score takes a long time to build, there are situations where time is against you and the last few points really matter. Many mortgage lenders have FICO score thresholds for interest rates, and you may fall a few points short of the next threshold which may mean thousands of dollars’ worth of payments. You don’t have another few years to carry your FICO score to that threshold. So what to do?

Continue reading How do I improve my FICO credit score in a month?

Amex tripled my credit limit!

9 months ago, in November 2012, I was very excited to become an American Express Card Member! https://hiepsfinance.com/2012/11/18/i-got-amex/ . I was approved for an Amex Gold Delta Skymiles credit card with a $1,000 credit limit.

My first Amex card is a Delta Gold, with a $1k starting limit
My first Amex card was a Delta Gold, with a $1k starting limit

Continue reading Amex tripled my credit limit!

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)

The ideal number of credit cards: why/when more is better

When I started my credit journey in January 2012, all I wanted at the time was the first card, and I stayed with one card for the next 9 months until I learned that there were better cards in the market. For the next 3 months I went on an app spree and finally came to the point where I felt adding another card to my portfolio wouldn’t do me much good any more.

Apparently the number of credit cards I have is absurdly high to many people. The common perception is that more credit cards suggest more financial trouble. Knowing that a high percentage of the population tend to abuse credit and get themselves into a debt spiral, I totally understand how this perception was created.

Needless to say, if you have had credit before and found yourself often charging credit cards up to the maximum allowed and not paying the balance in full, 1 credit card is enough. You still need a credit card to maintain your credit history, but for that purpose one card can be sufficient if you do not abuse it. On the other hand, if you are able to handle credit well, never charge to the limit, and always pay statement balances in full, then you should have multiple credit cards. If you want to know the reason, please read on.

Continue reading The ideal number of credit cards: why/when more is better

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

Reblog and analysis: “Five Surprising Things That May Impact Your Score” from Transunion

parking-ticketTransunion is one of the three consumer reporting agencies (CRA’s) which are responsible for keeping a record of your credit profile. Today I came across a brief and helpful article on their “Credit Education” section that I’d like to share with you and attach my comments to. The article is titled “Your Credit History: Five Surprising Things That May Impact Your Score.” Let’s analyze these 5 surprising things, one by one.

 

Continue reading Reblog and analysis: “Five Surprising Things That May Impact Your Score” from Transunion

Closing a credit card: let’s get the facts straight

There are so many myths surrounding the issue of credit card closing I thought it’d be helpful to dedicate a whole blog post to this topic.
Why should you close a credit card? Well, there are several reasons:

  1. The credit card is pure junk, such as one of the worst credit cards in America which are listed here: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2012/10/6-worst-credit-cards/ – No questions about this.
  2. The credit card carries an unsustainable annual fee, such as most loyalty and transferable points cards (if you’re not familiar with reward credit cards, check this post out). Many cards of these types waive the first year’s annual fee, and many consumers don’t find them worth keeping beyond the first year.  Continue reading Closing a credit card: let’s get the facts straight