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How long for building up a good credit history from zero.

How long for building up a good credit history from zero.

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Old Sep 29, 13, 3:53 pm
  #1  
DTS
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How long for building up a good credit history from zero.

Hi guys!
I tried the search but did not find an answer to my question (only about how to get a CC without credit history).
Now I came to the US three months ago. After I got my SSN, I applied for an AMEX charge card through the global transfer program (and got approved). I also was able to lease a car (through Volvo's expatriae program).
Anyways, I started with a credit history of zero. As I had to use my AMEX for all purchases, and as it is a charge card, and I have no idea how high my limit would be, I am not able to limit myself to 20-30% of the limit (the way it is frequently recommended). I am spending between 1500 and 2000USD on the card per month, always pay off when receiving the statement. I did not make a payment on the car yet, as the first three months were covered through a special offer from Volvo, October will be the first month in which I will make a lease payment.
So with this information, what would be your estimation on how long it will take me to build up a credit history that allows me to participate in all the stuff that you guys are talking about every day (Chase UR and other special sign-up offers...)?
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Old Sep 29, 13, 4:14 pm
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Originally Posted by DTS View Post
As I had to use my AMEX for all purchases, and as it is a charge card, and I have no idea how high my limit would be, I am not able to limit myself to 20-30% of the limit (the way it is frequently recommended).
Almost every version of the FICO credit scoring algorithm in use today does NOT factor a charge card into utilization. Only actual credit cards and other loans. (So it doesn't really matter what you're putting on that card.)

So with this information, what would be your estimation on how long it will take me to build up a credit history that allows me to participate in all the stuff that you guys are talking about every day (Chase UR and other special sign-up offers...)?
You could very well already be there. The main obstacle is having some kind of credit report. That Amex card should be reporting already and that might be enough.

I can recall people talking about 1-2 years but, really, the only way to find out is to try.
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Old Sep 29, 13, 6:05 pm
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How long for builing up a good credit history from zero.

It should take you about a year .
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Old Sep 30, 13, 8:58 am
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It took my wife about 2 years. Through our credit union, she started with a secured credit card in 2007 and then was able to apply for a $12k used car loan after about 1 year. It didn't hurt that she was able to pay off that loan in 18 months. Her first real credit card was a Chase UA card back in 2009 with a $5K credit limit. 12 credit cards later and a paid-off car loan, she now has a credit score in the mid-760's and has been able to earn over 800K points/miles.
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Old Sep 30, 13, 4:46 pm
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I moved to United States last year in April 2012. I got my first Amex Gold charge card using Global Transfer, was approved. Currently I have 5 Personal credit cards and 4 Business cards from prime lender.

You will have better luck to get your next card from Amex in short timeframe, as they will give consideration based on your existing relationship with them.

Build your 6 months to 1 year credit history, then apply for more cards from Chase and other prime lender. If you consider to apply under 1 year timeframe, then consider to apply for cards that may not have minimum CL requirement of $5000.

But be very careful, do not apply too many cards at once. It may take 2-3 years to build stronger credit history.
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Old Sep 30, 13, 5:26 pm
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Not to hickjack this thread, but I'm interested in this discussion too.

I have had a Corporate Amex since Feb and I started building personal credit six months ago when I got a secured BoA card and after getting rejected for the Marriott Premier in June, I got approved for an Amex Blue last month. I'm really interested in getting either the Marriott or the UA explorer but I don't know if I should wait some more or try getting other easier no fee cards first.
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Old Oct 1, 13, 8:15 am
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Originally Posted by mbece View Post
Not to hickjack this thread, but I'm interested in this discussion too.

I have had a Corporate Amex since Feb and I started building personal credit six months ago when I got a secured BoA card and after getting rejected for the Marriott Premier in June, I got approved for an Amex Blue last month. I'm really interested in getting either the Marriott or the UA explorer but I don't know if I should wait some more or try getting other easier no fee cards first.
Marriott Premier is a Visa Signature, and minimum CLI requirement is $5000.

To start relationship with Chase, you can consider to apply for Chase Freedom card. This card is easy to get approved.
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Old Oct 1, 13, 11:54 am
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Question

Originally Posted by fl9999 View Post
Marriott Premier is a Visa Signature, and minimum CLI requirement is $5000.

To start relationship with Chase, you can consider to apply for Chase Freedom card. This card is easy to get approved.
thanks for the input, fl9999. My Amex Blue was approved with a $5000 line, but in hindsight, it was very dumb of my to apply for the Marriott so soon as it is more of a "premier" card as opposed to the Blue which is Amex's lowest tier credit card.

My plan is to move half my banking from BoA to Chase soon (as soon as I get to be home on a weekday ), as I've heard they're a relationship bank, apply for an Amex charge card in Jan 2014 which would increase my AAoA and take it from there with Chase.

Does that sound alright or should I just keep banking with BoA and shoot for the Freedom next Jan to start a relationship with Chase?
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Old Oct 1, 13, 2:10 pm
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Originally Posted by mbece View Post
thanks for the input, fl9999. My Amex Blue was approved with a $5000 line, but in hindsight, it was very dumb of my to apply for the Marriott so soon as it is more of a "premier" card as opposed to the Blue which is Amex's lowest tier credit card.

My plan is to move half my banking from BoA to Chase soon (as soon as I get to be home on a weekday ), as I've heard they're a relationship bank, apply for an Amex charge card in Jan 2014 which would increase my AAoA and take it from there with Chase.

Does that sound alright or should I just keep banking with BoA and shoot for the Freedom next Jan to start a relationship with Chase?
You can apply for Chase Freedom card in Jan 2014. Regarding banking part, it is your choice, but it is better to have an account with them. You will able to maintain all Chase credit cards, saving, checking accounts using a single Login id and password. They seem to offer alot of good deals for their banking customers.
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Old Oct 5, 13, 8:51 pm
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Thank you guys for your input!

Originally Posted by fl9999 View Post
You will have better luck to get your next card from Amex in short timeframe, as they will give consideration based on your existing relationship with them.

Build your 6 months to 1 year credit history, then apply for more cards from Chase and other prime lender. If you consider to apply under 1 year timeframe, then consider to apply for cards that may not have minimum CL requirement of $5000.
So the next time a good offer comes up for a "real credit card" Amex, like the Starwood, I should jump on it?
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Old Oct 21, 13, 3:02 pm
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Starting your US credit journey really depends on how much income/cash you have. Unfortunately, as with everything in life, money allows more freedom in getting things done that help.

The thing that would have helped me the most was to have an AMEX card before arriving in the US. You could then use the global transfer program (as you guys have done) and get a US AMEX issued instantly. Unfortunately, AMEX cards are pretty much useless anywhere else so I closed mine a long time ago. That would have saved me time and money. Oh well.

If you can't do the AMEX thing, opening a secured CC at a credit union is the next thing you should do. Check out SDFCU or your local CU. My local CU had a great secured product - Visa platinum, no FTF, no fees, really low APR and a decent 1% cash back program. Put as much money as you can afford to lock away into securing the card (the optimal amount is $5,000. Locking that away is a bit rough on anybody, so try something like $3,000 if you can). Some CUs will open a secured CC without an INQ.

Once you have your card, PIF every month for 6 months. Right before the sixth month gets reported, do whatever is required to get it to report a util of 1%. You'll now get a score on Credit Sesame. When a score shows up in CS, you now have a FICO generated (though your CS score isn't a FICO score, blah blah blah). At this point, a clean file with 6 months of history and 1 TL with a CL of 3000-5000 and 1% util will net you a EX FICO of 750. Congratulations, you now qualify for any card on the market, except for one small problem. You only have 6 months of credit history.

There's been some talk of Chase issuing Freedom cards at 8 months, but they will definitely not issue a CSP or Ink at 6 months. You need to wait until at least 12 months of history have reported. Your only real prime option at this stage is AMEX.

With a high enough income and an EX FICO of 750, AMEX will issue you a charge card (the PRG is particularly good for the first year). Once that happens (and you can actually do this a minute after you get approved for the charge card), you can apply for a revolver like the SPG (also no AF for the first year). AMEX will collapse both INQs into one for both cards. Your CL won't be great (roughly the same as the highest CL you have) and your APR won't be great, but it's a start as your first unsecured CC.

Wait 61 days, do the 3x CLI. You now have over $10K on a TL. You're doing better than most of the US population (if you measure doing better by CLs...). Now, you can wait until the next AMEX CLI (6 months from last CLI) or apply for the CSP right after 1 year of history. You will be approved (probably not instant, the screen will ask you to call in and reference a number -- you're approved, this is just fraud prevention). Your CL on your CSP will match your largest AMEX CL + ~$2k. I don't really know what else you need from this point on, but you should try not to waste INQs until your AAoA has built up. My experience is that income > AAoA > INQs, though.

Whatever happens after that is up to you and your income level. Of course, YMMV with all of the above.
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Old Oct 21, 13, 7:32 pm
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Originally Posted by patrick.barnes View Post
Starting your US credit journey really depends on how much income/cash you have. Unfortunately, as with everything in life, money allows more freedom in getting things done that help.

The thing that would have helped me the most was to have an AMEX card before arriving in the US. You could then use the global transfer program (as you guys have done) and get a US AMEX issued instantly. Unfortunately, AMEX cards are pretty much useless anywhere else so I closed mine a long time ago. That would have saved me time and money. Oh well.

If you can't do the AMEX thing, opening a secured CC at a credit union is the next thing you should do. Check out SDFCU or your local CU. My local CU had a great secured product - Visa platinum, no FTF, no fees, really low APR and a decent 1% cash back program. Put as much money as you can afford to lock away into securing the card (the optimal amount is $5,000. Locking that away is a bit rough on anybody, so try something like $3,000 if you can). Some CUs will open a secured CC without an INQ.

Once you have your card, PIF every month for 6 months. Right before the sixth month gets reported, do whatever is required to get it to report a util of 1%. You'll now get a score on Credit Sesame. When a score shows up in CS, you now have a FICO generated (though your CS score isn't a FICO score, blah blah blah). At this point, a clean file with 6 months of history and 1 TL with a CL of 3000-5000 and 1% util will net you a EX FICO of 750. Congratulations, you now qualify for any card on the market, except for one small problem. You only have 6 months of credit history.

There's been some talk of Chase issuing Freedom cards at 8 months, but they will definitely not issue a CSP or Ink at 6 months. You need to wait until at least 12 months of history have reported. Your only real prime option at this stage is AMEX.

With a high enough income and an EX FICO of 750, AMEX will issue you a charge card (the PRG is particularly good for the first year). Once that happens (and you can actually do this a minute after you get approved for the charge card), you can apply for a revolver like the SPG (also no AF for the first year). AMEX will collapse both INQs into one for both cards. Your CL won't be great (roughly the same as the highest CL you have) and your APR won't be great, but it's a start as your first unsecured CC.

Wait 61 days, do the 3x CLI. You now have over $10K on a TL. You're doing better than most of the US population (if you measure doing better by CLs...). Now, you can wait until the next AMEX CLI (6 months from last CLI) or apply for the CSP right after 1 year of history. You will be approved (probably not instant, the screen will ask you to call in and reference a number -- you're approved, this is just fraud prevention). Your CL on your CSP will match your largest AMEX CL + ~$2k. I don't really know what else you need from this point on, but you should try not to waste INQs until your AAoA has built up. My experience is that income > AAoA > INQs, though.

Whatever happens after that is up to you and your income level. Of course, YMMV with all of the above.
This is pretty much my approach and it is working great for me, except that the secured card I got is BoA's, as I bank with them and it has decent rewards.

Now, after only six months, I've got an Amex which I'm trying for a CLI early next month (I got the Amex through a regular application cause I didn't have one back home) and the secured card that should convert to unsecured in 3-6 months. I'm starting to get pre-approvals from Discover, so even if they don't guarantee an actual approval, I am on the radar which is pretty cool -six months ago even I was denied for Cap One card for Newcomers because they couldn't even generate a report!
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Old Oct 22, 13, 6:40 pm
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Originally Posted by mbece View Post
This is pretty much my approach and it is working great for me, except that the secured card I got is BoA's, as I bank with them and it has decent rewards.

Now, after only six months, I've got an Amex which I'm trying for a CLI early next month (I got the Amex through a regular application cause I didn't have one back home) and the secured card that should convert to unsecured in 3-6 months. I'm starting to get pre-approvals from Discover, so even if they don't guarantee an actual approval, I am on the radar which is pretty cool -six months ago even I was denied for Cap One card for Newcomers because they couldn't even generate a report!
Yeah, Discover will keep spamming you endlessly. I went with a CU because it's more like a decent bank back home (no fees for things that should be free, like transfers + no FTF on a secured card is hard to do at a normal bank.

You should definitely go the AMEX CLI route at 61 days and +6 months. You should be able to get the line up to 25k and then app for a CSP @ 12 months and they should match it if income supports it.

(BTW, the thing about those Discover offers is that they give you some idea of your EX FICO [in CA]. The APR somewhat reflects how good your FICO is. When they get down to 10.99% you're in a good place.
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Old Oct 23, 13, 10:17 am
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Originally Posted by DTS View Post
As I had to use my AMEX for all purchases, and as it is a charge card, and I have no idea how high my limit would be, I am not able to limit myself to 20-30% of the limit (the way it is frequently recommended).
As stated above, your charge card isn't relevant to revolving utilization. However, when you do get a revolver you can certainly manage reported utilization by paying down your balance prior to statement end. While 30% is the generally recommended max, you'll probably see better scoring at even lower utilization levels.
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