Reader Feedback and www.annualcreditreport.com

I got permission to share this feedback from a reader who’s gotten on the bandwagon.

Brad,

I took some more time to check out your web site today — it’s awesome!

… I ended up signing up for some new cards — a Continental OnePass Visa (free for first year) that I received a 50K bonus invitation on — I was able to transfer those miles into my linked United Mileage Plus account for free.  I also signed up for the AmEx Platinum Card with a 100K bonus that I was able to convert to 150K Delta SkyMiles as well as Silver Medallion Status through a promotion that they are offering.  That one did cost me
$450, but the 150K miles and other benefits definitely make it worth it for a year.

I was thinking of getting the Chase Sapphire card, too, for the 50K bonus that can be transferred to United, but I am not sure how nuts I should go with these applications.  I checked my score today and it is 780 after the two recent card additions to my credit reports.  What do you think the impact of one more card would be?

Here’s my response:

Yeah, buddy! Its great to hear that your taking the bull by the horns on this deal.  I just don’t see how we can go wrong… unless we get carried away and ruin our credit – which is your concern.

You probably saw my brother’s post on “Doesn’t it hurt my credit?”, so you know that applying for credit can really only affect about 25% of your credit score (10% new credit and 15% length of credit history).  The other factor is that most of these credit card companies only make an inquiry at particular bureaus, so there’s a chance that some of these cards you’ve recently applied for have affected some bureaus more than others.  As you know, when applying for a major loan, such as a mortgage, banks generally pull your credit report from all three, and then use the lowest score.  Thus, it doesn’t really do you any favors to have a 820 at one and 780 at the other two… though that’s usually not the case.  Anyways, what I’m getting at is that, at least in the case of my wife’s Chase Sapphire Preferred, they drew from Experian.  I’ve heard that you can expect another recent inquiry to affect your score by 6-10 points.

My bet is that not all of your recent inquires have been at Experian and you’ll probably be safe to drop another one on there.

Have you gotten a credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com?  It is a service to provide a  free, legitimate credit report from each of the credit bureaus as you are entitled to by law.

Also, another blogger posted about some other methods, by which you can determine what bureaus banks may be using: http://millionmilesecrets.com/2011/08/23/credit-pulls/

Also, you have to remember that having another card with an open credit line may help your score from the standpoint of your “Amounts Owed” or Credit Used (30%), by increasing your overall access to credit without increasing your amounts owed.

We are thinking that about 5 cards per year is a good reference point.  Maybe even more if the inquiries are spread out.

You’re right on in taking some of those targeted offers… those are some of the best ones – and good job on pulling off the Silver Status.  See if there’s a promotion to get to gold if you fly twice before the end of the year.  (That’s what I’m on and I’ll be Gold after my trip to Tampa in October).

A few other ideas for you:

  • Once you meet the minimum spend on your AMEX Platinum, call them up and see if they’ll waive the $450 annual fee.  Use your best sweet-talk voice and mention your long relationship with AMEX and your excitement about the Platinum card… it never hurts to ask.
  • Look into the TDAmeritrade promotion as a way to get some more miles without more credit inquiries.  I dropped 25k into an account just to get 20k starwood points.  (Then I bought AGNC (19% dividend), WHX (14% dividend), and a couple others to grow it to $30k).
  • Travel like a freaking madman.  Last week I found tickets from BOI to Sri Lanka for $875… taxes and all.  Not only is that an amazing deal, but you also come home with 18k frequent flier miles.  Hands down the best search engine is: http://www.farecompare.com/search/flyertalk.html

Here are some other credit reporting resources.


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