No, I’m not fighting with credit card debt. In fact, I’ve never carried a balance on a credit card. I’m actually fighting to establish credit history. I graduated from college with zero credit history. It is a slow journey that I don’t have nearly enough patience for.
I have a six figure income with my W-2s being from the same employer for what will be the fourth year in a row and I’ve lived in the same apartment since I moved to my current city from college almost two years ago.
None of that matters when I’m trying to establish credit.
I established a $500 secured card with a credit union last summer and after 6 months, they converted it to an unsecured card at a $1,000 limit. I’ve been using this card for auto-payments of bills like my internet and cable bill, some charitable donations, and my electric bill.
Another local credit union was incredibly helpful in my debut with credit. They gave me a small auto loan at a reasonable rate, which I have been paying automatically out of a savings account. They also gave me an unsecured credit card with a $1,000 limit. I’ve been using this card for random things and keeping the balance between $100 and $200. I like this card the most because I have my checking account at this credit union, making its card the easiest to pay off.
For some crazy reason, I had my heart set on an Amazon.com Visa card through Chase. It essentially gives you 3% back on your Amazon.com purchases, 2% back at drugstores, grocery stores, and gas stations, and 1% back on everything else. When I applied for the card and was approved in April, I was really excited… until I got the card in the mail and I found out it only had a $400 limit. Since I’m trying to keep my credit usage at or around 20% at all times, that means I could only spend $80 per month on that card. I just managed to get the limit raised to $700 after having the card for over 7 months, which still feels like an insult to my money management skills.
I’m hopeful that my primary credit union will raise the limit on my card with them once it’s been a year in November so that I don’t have to pay the card off so quickly when I put prescriptions on it that cost over $200.
My mom keeps telling me that I need to have more patience with the process, but it’s hard when it’s so frustrating and takes so long. My goal is to have good enough credit history to be eligible for a mortgage in a few years, if I so choose to buy a house or a condo. Hopefully my credit situation will be looking better at this time next year.