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Credit Card Recommendations (1-09):
nor are they endorsed by the University of Georgia Staff Council,
the University of Georgia, or the University System of Georgia.
Capitol One was my first credit card and that was nearly 15 years ago! I
haven't used it in many, many years, but it was a good card to have and
establish credit with. I'd also suggest Chase. I've had two accounts with
them and they've been great!
Try the credit union. We had an employee here that took out a small personal loan
with the credit union to build credit, the loan payment was deducted from her
I was in a similar situation and Household Bank started me out with a
750.00 credit limit. That is what they are known for, less than perfect
credit or re-establishing credit.
I started with the Discover card way back when I was a student and had no credit.
Since then I've used different cards and just went back to making Discover my primary
card. They just have better customer service.
The Discover Card has several different levels of credit cards for
people trying to establish credit. The interest rates are low and there
is the cash back incentive as well. Its much more widely accepted than
it used to be although it still isn't accepted everywhere. Its
something to look into though as it is perfect for people just starting
out. I would avoid Capital One. As their starter cards tend to come with
higher interest rates as well as a monthly fee just for having the card.
I like my Chase card... they have continued to keep my % low when all
the others went up..... stay far far away from Capital One.... they are
horrible!!!! Jack up %, suddenly create yearly fees, will not close the
account when you ask them to.... put these charges on then charge late
fees on them.... (they just did all these things to my new husband on a
old account of his even though he paid off in full and requested they
close the account... then I found on the Clarke Howard site where this
has happened to several people.)
Dec 07, 2007 -- Stored-value cards can help those with poor credit. Beware if
you're in a credit crunch and you get a credit card offer in the mail from
First Premier Bank. This locust lender will offer you a card with a $250 credit
limit, but it also comes with a $95 program fee, a $29 set-up fee, an $84 dollar/year
participation fee and an annual fee of $48. By the time you pay all the initial fees,
you barely have any of your original credit line still available. Lenders like First
Premier and CompuCredit have been in the news lately for this practice, yet there are
also many online opportunities enticing those with damaged credit. If you're contemplating
getting one of these cards, stop it immediately. There are alternatives called stored-value
cards that have just a fraction of the fees. Stored-value cards are popular in Europe, but
not widely known in the United States. Here's how they work: You pay a fee, usually around $5,
to open an account. Then you get a Visa or MasterCard that holds your stored value. So you
don't have a credit card per se, but you've got a card that you can electronically load cash
onto and use as a payment system. Stored-value cards can help you make online purchases, for
example. Be sure to read all the terms and conditions because additional fees usually apply.
You can find stored-value cards at discount stores, but don't purchase them at convenience
stores. The fees you'll face there will defeat the purpose.
Do NOT get a capital one card. They usually give them to new college students (and people without
credit), but it won't help your credit score increase because they don't report your responsible
habits to the credit agencies or something to that effect. Basically, it won't help you!
Are you a member of a Credit Union? They usually have good cards.
I don't know which is the best, but I do know that you should most likely stay away from Chase
and Discover -- they have a way of snowballing on you (high interest rates, no grace periods,
extraordinary late fees). I will put in a good word for Bank of America...you might also check
for UGA special offers under employee benefits -- I think there are special rates/cards for staff.
Of course, if you qualify for USAA (got a military background in your immediate family?) that's
definitely the best!
Having been through this myself several years ago, I can say, that once you've got it, and don't abuse it,
it's a great thing -- no matter what people say, in this economy and with my salary, I am very
thankful to be able to turn to my credit cards occasionally.
Orchard Bank (part of HSBC, I think) seems to have the ability to issue
low-limit cards to those with -- how do we say it -- substandard credit
scores. If that won't work, try one of these that make you put $x into
a savings account to act as collateral against a credit card. I feel
your pain .... been there, done that. Sucks.
If you haven't already done so, get a credit report. It's free - check
this out: http://www.georgia.gov/00/article/0,2086,5426814_39039081_39337481,00.html
Getting credit depends on what your potential lender can see on your
credit report. That's why it's a good idea for you to see it, so you can
see what they see. Usually, that means credit cards, car loans, and mortgages
on the good side, but the bad side will be delinquent payments on just about
anything - utilities, repair bills, unpaid or late rent on an apartment.
You also get marked down for having too many credit inquiries - if
you're applying for cards or loans left and right, they think you won't
be able to pay everyone back, so they won't extend credit.
A good strategy for your store card is to make a decent sized purchase,
take 3-4 months to pay off the balance (ALWAYS paying more than the
minimum due!) and then use it for something every month and pay off the
balance EVERY month! After a while, you'll start getting credit card
offers in the mail. Most of these should be ignored and shredded. If you
get one with a good fixed interest rate, like 7.99%, apply for that one,
regardless of the starting credit line. They increase your credit line
every so often, like your store card did, so don't sweat it. It might
take 6 months to a year to get a decent credit card offer - have patience.
The idea is to build credit, not use it. If you couldn't pay cash for it
right now, today, don't put it on your card, either.
Also be aware that your credit score looks at how much of your credit
you are using compared to how much you have available. Keep that a low
percentage. If you have a $500 credit line, keep your balance under $100
And check out this site and read at least the first 3 "baby steps" -
you'll be glad you did :)
There's some really good advice on that site if you poke around in it
(don't need to buy anything from him). I like Suze Orman, too, but Dave
Ramsey is more down to earth and his advice is for us working people,
not geared toward the folks making money we can only dream of ;)
I think you could go talk to the folks at GFCU. They might help.
Barring that, it is a good idea to apply for a Bank of America
unsecured platinum plus visa. If they turn you down, they often offer
a partially secured card where you put down $99 and get a $500 CL. If
you pay that on time without going too close or over the limit for
12-18 months, they will unsecure it and give your $99 back.
If you go here, they have a list of links that will show you if you
are preapproved for anything from those particular issuers:
I don't have any good card recommendations, just some general advice based
on what I've absorbed over time, but if you only charge what you can
actually pay off each month the interest rate is less important.
- Housing and Consumer Economics department (2-4856) in College of Family
and Consumer Sciences is offering a seminar that might help with these types
of questions -- not sure of schedule but very close in time (either in next
few days or have just missed it). I also think there is something else
coming up in early to mid Feb.--maybe downtown in Classic Center. If
someone else doesn't give you the schedule call the department to find out
when these seminars are. Also, Housing and Consumer Economics in
Cooperative Extension offers consumer/educational information (2-8860).
- Better to have one or two general use cards rather than several store
cards, and don't get your credit limit too high. That being said, never
charge more than about 30% of your available credit.
- Get a secured card. You pay ahead -- open an account and deposit
money, then use as regular charge card (this takes away the risk to the CC
company and is intended for situations similar to yours). Paying the entire
balance each month demonstrates that you can manage credit (rather than
maintaining a balance to show you can manage it).
- If you don't already listen to Clark Howard (WSB AM750), start.
I recommend: www.capitalone.com, www.orchardbank.com, www.householdbank.com
Good luck! These were very helpful for me a few years ago!
Did anyone answer you on this one? We are also doing this and found the
MC from Premier Bank. There is a set up fee but we needed to get
started somewhere. They gave us low credit limit and then would review
it in 6 months.
One thing that I did when I was younger was to go to the bank and say
that I wanted to take out a $1000 dollar loan. I then went on to say
that I wanted to immediately deposit the 1000 into the bank in a secure
account that I could not withdraw from. I then made payments on the
loan for 1 year and that built my credit and at the end I had $1000 in
the bank to boot!
Do not get a capitol one , they will rob you , we have had good luck with Bank of America.
When my husband & I first married, he had absolutely no credit; not even a bank account.
We started his credit by opening both checking & savings accounts at our local, small
town bank, then after about a year, we applied for a small auto loan for 24 months.
Something like a small loan thru your bank or applying for a credit card thru your own
bank should do the trick. I believe loans help your credit history much more than credit
cards do. I think the small town banks are more willing to work with you than the huge
corporate banks, especially if you have any negative things in your past credit history.
You may want to look into trying the UGA credit union; Georgia Federal Credit Union. They
seem to be very interested in helping the UGA community. Another tip: check out Suze Orman's
website. She is one of the best financial wizards I've come across. She has a TV show, radio
show, books, etc. She's very honest and straight forward and doesn't sugarcoat things when she
is advising people on better ways to improve their financial lives & manage their money. Good luck!