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Getting an 800+ score


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Hi, everyone!

It's been more than a year since I posted, and I am working on getting my credit to 800+ but have been stagnant for many months. I started last year in April as credit invisible after avoiding all credit for many years post 2008. The last time I opened a bank account in 2018 the bank showed my credit as "0" and the woman was shocked saying she had never seen that. Last year I rehabilitated my students loans into an income based repayment plan, where I pay $10/mo. Luckily, I found Visa Petal 2 (1.25% cash back but was 1.5% cash back previously), which links into a bank account via Plaid to make sure no overdraws have occurred in the past six months for approval. Seven months later, I applied for a Citi Double Cash Card (2% flat cash back), and was approved... which caused my VantageScore to drop pretty drastically. I have had the Citi Double Cash Card for five months and no longer use the Petal 2. Each week (or week and a half) I pay off the maximum that the credit card will allow me to, as opposed to the minimum or random amount. Ideally, I would like my credit utilization to be at 7%+/- a point, but I do not know what this is checked and I think mine has probably been between 4-12%. My credit score and limits are: 

Petal - VantageScore 3.0:...... 714 / 850............. $1,450 credit limit
Citi - FICO score:................... 772 / 900............. $1,800 credit limit

Ideally, I would like to raise my credit score, but am not sure what the best way is to do this. Other than the two credit cards, nothing is in my name. Currently, I do not have a vehicle (long story), though I have retained a non-owners insurance policy ($65/mo) which did come in handy for me at one point and may be handy over the next few months, but mostly seems like a waste. I live in the suburbs where a car would be handy (I have been Uber-ing with fees of $120-$200/mo), but I will likely be moving in August 2024 and am not sure if I will still be on the mainland, Hawaii, or Puerto Rico, so dealing with a car might become a hassle. Last year I filed for a few business licenses, but have not had time to do anything with that yet. I also would like to buy a sailboat in the future to live on, ideally starting in August 2024 when I would move. Any thoughts about what the best options are for me to raise my credit score and build more credit history without going into major debt since these two credit cards are the only things I have reporting?

Thanks in advance!

P.S. A friend is also working on their credit and was denied a Visa Petal 2 (after they were left unemployed from the former employer closing), but they did get approved for Unicorn.Ai. For people with bad or no credit this also appears to be an option.

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1) Would a mix of trade line accounts and more credit cards work just as well? If a trade line would be good, any suggestions on what?


2) Should I wait until 6 months from when I received approval for the last card before applying for another? Or 6 months from activation? Or does it matter that much?

3)  Would it be best to get 2-3 more CCs right away, or space them all out 6 months or so apart?

4) I was looking at CCs last night. I eat out often, and would like to maximize the cash back on that since it's probably biggest monthly spending category. Any suggestions for CCs? I was looking last night and thinking the Citi Custom Cash or Discover It card, although leaning towards the Citi Custom Cash. I think the Citi card would allow me to almost always get the 5% back on restaurants (whereas w/ Discover It that might only happen one quarter per year), but would it not help my credit report to have two cards by the same company since I already have the Citi Double Cash card?


5) Are there any cards that are good for people moving, since I know I will likely be doing that in August 2024? I also may go on a trip in January 2024, so travel points could potentially be useful, but I typically do not get to travel much these days.

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--  If you're going to target a credit score, target something like 740-760.  These will open access to most any type of credit you desire, provided you qualify in terms of other factors such as income, job and residence history, etc.


--  Approach the credit journey as a marathon, not a race.  It's best to take stock of where you're at once every 6 moths to ensure that you're on a path that's moving you forward.


-- The advice to have 5 reporting accounts is generally broadened to tradelines of any type.  Having more than a single type of credit (i.e. credit cards) is a plus.  Until such time as you have need of a auto loan or mortgage, review topics posted to CB on the subject of opening an installment loan without incurring much net out of pocket cost due to interest.


-- I don't think you need to wait 6 mo between applications, but would suggest spacing them at least 3-4 months apart.  Focus on quality credit products that will definitely pay you back for having them in your wallet and that you're likely to actively use.  These are the accounts that will most effectively advance your credit score over time.


--  I like the Citi Custom Cash card, provided that the $500 spend limit each month on your most active spend category is sufficient for your likely spend.  Many other cards with 3%-5% rewards entail an annual fee that can wipe out the rewards on your first $3000 (+/-) spend each year.  If I recall correctly, rewards are accumulated as TY points, making it a reasonable companion for your Double Cash card.



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I pulled the trigger and applied for the Citi Custom Cash card today and was approved. Apparently they used Experian for my credit and I was at 774 today. Citi gave me a credit limit on this card of $1,700. 


I don't know if I should go ahead and apply for more cards within the 14 day window, because I read it's better to do numerous applications within 14 days, or just stop for now and start using the new card for 5/6 mos before applying for another. Thoughts?


I have not been using the Petal card at all and was thinking about just putting it away. Should I be trying to charge something small on it every month though so that they don't close the account? I assume if they did close the account it would affect my age of accounts and lower the credit score. Correct?

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Unless you've got a big app (car or mortgage) coming up, I'd encourage applying for more cards.


One thing to be wary of is sign-up bonuses: Gotta spend $1,500 in the first six months in order to get your $200 SUB from Citi; note the spend criteria for other cards' SUB's and determine which ones you'll realistically be able to meet.

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Hi there! It sounds like you're doing a great job rebuilding your credit. Since you only have two credit cards reporting on your credit history, it may be helpful to consider opening another credit account or loan, such as a secured credit card or personal loan, to further diversify your credit. It's also important to continue making on-time payments and keeping your credit utilization low. As for buying a sailboat in the future, it's important to keep in mind that taking on a large debt, such as a boat loan, could negatively impact your credit score. It may be a good idea to focus on improving your credit before taking on any major new debt. Lastly, for your friend who was denied the Petal 2 card, it's great to hear that they were able to get approved for another credit option. 

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Based on the idea of the five credit line to get a score over 800, I have another question. 


I am based in the US and want to have eye surgery correction in Vancouver, Canada. What would be the best method to finance this for monthly payments? It's something I could use within the next year and would make a massive difference for me in terms of health and likely helping me increase my income.

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