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If you are here reading this forum/thread, you probably have heard, seen or know someone who has been leveraging credit card points for free or very low cost travel and want to get involved. While it may be very tempting to jump right in and apply for a bunch of credit cards, it is advisable to read through the forums before doing so.

For those who have no credit history, building your credit score is strongly recommended and may even be needed before applying for any credit cards.

Step 1 - Try and get added as an Authorized User (AU) on an established credit card. This card should be kept in good standing and preferably have a low credit utilization ratio.
Some have had success with Amex to get your card backdated to the primary cardholders "member since" date. Having this done will increase your credit history to that of  the account holders first Amex card.
UPDATE Amex no longer backdates any cards. Any authorized user card will show up on the AUs report as a new account, opened on the date that the AU was added. Amex is now one of the worse choices to get added as an AU to, for credit building purposes.
Chase, Citi, Bank of America and others are more likely to show the full history of the primary cardholder on the authorized user's report than Amex is.

Additional Option - In conjunction with being added as an AU, you can  sign up for a secure credit card.
A secured credit card works almost like a debit card (you need to lay out your credit limit), but this functions as a regular credit card and will help build your credit score.

Step 2 - Once you are setup as an AU, it is best to wait a few months before applying for your first card.

Your first card should be a store credit card, which are easier to get approved for, especially with very limited credit history.
Some of the store cards people apply for are Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Kohl's, Macy's, Target etc. While these cards will not give you major signup bonuses to travel with, they do give you access to exclusive promotions and other perks when purchasing from the store.

Additional Options - The CapitalOne Journey card seems to be easier to get approved for, though understand they will pull your credit from all three agencies, while most banks only pull from one.

Discover has a student card you can apply for here. This can also be an easier option to getting approved for your first card. Their regular IT card (not student) seems to be pretty easy to get approved for with little to no credit history as well.

Step 3 - Pay your bill before your statement closes (cut off date), but leave a minimal amount remaining to be paid after your statement closes. This will help ensure that you have both a low CC utilization while establishing a good credit payment history. (This applies to new spending from this month.  Anything already 'due' should be paid in full.)

Step 4 - After using your first card for a few months, you will be ready to apply for the cards you will have read and heard so much about. Remember that getting accepted for a credit card is a combination of many factors like credit history and your credit score, but it is also dependent on the income that you claim* you make.  Income is not part of your credit report or score.

Step 5 - This is a brief synopsis of what to do when applying for credit cards. There are additional factors one should understand before applying for credit cards. DDF is a great resource and there are many people willing to answer your questions (which you should ask, albeit after attempting a search) 

*If you are under 21, you are legally only allowed to report personal income. Personal income, however, can include allowances and scholarships.
If you are over 21, you can claim any income which you have reasonable access to in order to pay back the bill, which includes the income of others in the household (spouse/parent), or anyone supporting you. Additionally, while most banks will not have you verify your income, it does happen and you should be prepared to show them. This is particularly prevalent with American Express, and is known as a Financial Review (FR).
« Last edited by S209 on September 09, 2018, 01:45:26 AM »

Author Topic: Credit Card For Beginners  (Read 643994 times)

Offline Saver2000

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Re: Credit card for older relative with Thin credit file best way to go?
« Reply #360 on: May 01, 2012, 11:15:30 PM »
On Amex you have to give your SSN even as an AU so it takes about 2 or 3 months then he will probably be approved for a CC.

You are required to, but you don't have to. In other words, there are ways around it.

Offline lcyitz

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Re: Credit card for older relative with Thin credit file best way to go?
« Reply #361 on: May 01, 2012, 11:16:42 PM »
Is amex any different than citi? Because i put my friend down as an au and applied after 4 months and ...declined.

Offline oldguy

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Re: Credit card for older relative with Thin credit file best way to go?
« Reply #362 on: May 01, 2012, 11:18:15 PM »
You are required to, but you don't have to. In other words, there are ways around it.
But regarding Kid000 Q that's prob. the best way IME.

Offline meshugener

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Re: Credit card for older relative with Thin credit file best way to go?
« Reply #363 on: May 01, 2012, 11:24:58 PM »
If you want to see good a fast results, follow my advise: don't do an authorized user, make him a joint. Dono if that'll work with Amex, but if not, go to chase.
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Offline KidOOO

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Re: Credit card for older relative with Thin credit file best way to go?
« Reply #364 on: May 01, 2012, 11:27:31 PM »
If you want to see good a fast results, follow my advise: don't do an authorized user, make him a joint. Dono if that'll work with Amex, but if not, go to chase.

Thanks, i already added him as user on my amex, gave them his Social.

i have chase freedom do you know if can add as joint? and what does "Joint" do more than AU

Offline Dan

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Re: Credit card for older relative with Thin credit file best way to go?
« Reply #365 on: May 01, 2012, 11:27:47 PM »
If you want to see fast results, follow my advise: make him a joint.
;)
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline smurf

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Offline KidOOO

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Re: Credit card for older relative with Thin credit file best way to go?
« Reply #367 on: May 01, 2012, 11:42:07 PM »
;)

Yeh if he can only get a Score

Offline lcyitz

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Credit card for older relative with Thin credit file best way to go?
« Reply #368 on: May 01, 2012, 11:47:04 PM »
;)
Does that mean joint doesn't work,or just funny that meshuganer said it?

Offline bubbles

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Re: Credit card for older relative with Thin credit file best way to go?
« Reply #369 on: May 02, 2012, 12:06:05 AM »
Does that mean joint doesn't work,or just funny that meshuganer said it?




(wait for it)

Offline JEWDA

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Re: Credit card for older relative with Thin credit file best way to go?
« Reply #370 on: May 02, 2012, 12:07:09 AM »
Hi guys,

I am trying to get a credit card for my relative, he is about 70 years old, and when i checked his credit score it said he had a "thin file" meaning there was not much info on his credit report.

My questions is, what in your opinion is the best way to go about this?

I rather not go with a secured credit card, or an annual fee credit card. are they any other ways to build credit?

Thanks for your help
He should try capital one.
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Offline sky121

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Re: Credit card for older relative with Thin credit file best way to go?
« Reply #371 on: May 02, 2012, 12:07:59 AM »
If you want to see good a fast results, follow my advise: don't do an authorized user, make him a joint

+1  I meant to write joint user up there.  There IS a difference.
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Offline HelpMe

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Re: Credit card for older relative with Thin credit file best way to go?
« Reply #372 on: May 02, 2012, 12:37:51 AM »
If you want to see good a fast results, follow my advise: don't do an authorized user, make him a joint. Dono if that'll work with Amex, but if not, go to chase.
No need for joint user. AU will work just fine unless a FICO score of +800 is not good enough for you.  ;D
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Offline KidOOO

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Re: Credit card for older relative with Thin credit file best way to go?
« Reply #373 on: May 02, 2012, 12:46:09 AM »
He should try capital one.

Why do you say that?

+1  I meant to write joint user up there.  There IS a difference.

What is the difference?

Offline netzih

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Just use it once in a while, I believe even a dollar is fine , but an AU can take a year to build his credit. I would try a joint cardholder that seems to work faster ( according to meshuganer)
I don't see why out should take a year IME it had nothing to do with how long he had the card it had to do with how long the card had been open