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I posted here a few months back about medical collections showing up on my report and I'm happy to say I've vanquished all but 2 of them on my report and 3 on my husband's. I should have the problem ones off our reports soon. If not, they'll all fall off within 2 years or so.

 

Now that I'm mostly done with the negative, it's time to build the positive. My husband has never had a credit card and I was dumb and paid all of mine off then closed them 7-8 years ago. One one is till showing on my Experian report as a positive, but it could disappear at any time. We're thinking of using part of our tax refund as collateral on a secured card for each of us, but we're not sure the best way to go. I'm nervous of reviews on CreditKarma.com and the like because I'm not sure if the card issuers are bad about spamming with positive reviews. Here's the details on what we need:

 

- Our TransUnion and Equifax Vanatge 3.0 scores are hovering around 600. Mine are just above, his are just below. No clue what our "real" FICO scores are.

- 2 medical collections on mine, 3 on his (one under $100) that are all older than 5 years.

- We'd like to open each card with $200 ($400 total).

- We'd like to easily increase our credit limit later. Transition to unsecured would be great, but not a huge deal for a while.

- We want to avoid cards that require funding and payment from a checking or savings account. Too afraid of them pulling something dirty.

- Annual fee under $50 (can slide on this a tad) and no activation fee.

- No fee for an authorized user. We plan on listing each other as an authorized user to double our positive accounts.

- APR isn't a huge issue. We plan to only have a $20-$25 balance month-to-month.

 

Our plan on these cards are to spend around $100/m each card on things we already pay for (Husband pays cellphone bill, I pay for gas and household stuff). Set aside the money we would have spent anyway and pay the bill down to roughly 10% of the limit. This is what I did before and I was never late and never had more than 40% utilization for longer than two months.

 

Any suggestions? Thanks!

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Open a checking account at a MAJOR bank.  Have a paycheck direct deposited.  Get debit cards.  In 6 months to a year, they'll offer you an unsecured low limit credit card.

 

Secured cards are a scam...

I've been banking with a major bank for nearly 20 years with my checks direct deposited for the last 15 years or so. Have a joint checking and savings with my husband and three savings accounts for each of my kids. Had two credit cards that I paid off and closed with no late payments. They've already denied me for an unsecured card and their secured card charges way too many fees.

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Do you have a debit card with them?

 

The only "secured" card I would recommend is the AMEX Prepaid thingy...

 

Yes, I actually have two. One for the joint with my husband and a second one for my joint with my disabled mother.. My husband has two debits as well, the joint with me and the joint with our oldest (still a minor) son.

 

Does it report to the CBAs? The only stuff on AMEX prepaid that I've found doesn't report. If I can get the 2 collections removed and the good closed card falls off, I'll show nothing. I might switch to it for my middle son's prepaid card, though. Thanks for the tip on it.

 

 

I would say get one from a credit union.

 

I've heard good things about credit unions. I'll see what I have local. Thanks!

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I deal with three credit unions. I always get a good loan with a great rate with them. Last year I signed up with a new one and before I ever put money in my account they gave me a credit card with a $15,000 limit. No hassle dealing with them like with a bank, and your interest rates are always better.

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 Here's the thing.  Some secured cards DO report to the CRAs, but, the FICO scoring algorithms recognize secured cards and therefore they have very little effect on scores.

 

In effect, secured cards are debit cards that you pay for the privilege of letting the bank keep your money.

 

Either switch your banking to a credit union or wait for your major bank to come around.  (One problem I do see is you have multiple checking accounts, with multiple cosigners...its difficult to predict how the bank feels about that).

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I deal with three credit unions. I always get a good loan with a great rate with them. Last year I signed up with a new one and before I ever put money in my account they gave me a credit card with a $15,000 limit. No hassle dealing with them like with a bank, and your interest rates are always better.

 

Turns out the closet bank to our house is a credit union. They info on their site looks good. Open on Sundays, which is perfect because my husband gets his paycheck on Saturday night (no direct deposit, his boss is very old school). Hubby and I are going to swing by it tomorrow and talk to them. Sometimes they offer you better stuff to get you to sign up if you're starting to walk away. Got a higher interest rate with my kids' saving account that way.

 

 Here's the thing.  Some secured cards DO report to the CRAs, but, the FICO scoring algorithms recognize secured cards and therefore they have very little effect on scores.

 

In effect, secured cards are debit cards that you pay for the privilege of letting the bank keep your money.

 

Either switch your banking to a credit union or wait for your major bank to come around.  (One problem I do see is you have multiple checking accounts, with multiple cosigners...its difficult to predict how the bank feels about that).

 

I remember my first credit card was secured and my score was really good enough after a year that my bank switched me to $10k unsecured "student" visa. My secured only started at $500 and was at $1000 when they switched. No other credit lines. To be fair though, at that time I was making a decent amount of money with no real bills to pay. They probably expected me to be the typical 19 year old and max it out, but I disappointed them.

 

The bank required me to be on my kids' savings accounts. I opened the first two before I was married to my current husband and they actually opened my youngest son's account over the phone from my recovery room after the birth. They transferred the opening balance from my savings and just had me come in a few days later to sign everything. 

 

I always had to deal with a manager every time I went in when a power of attorney for my mom. They said I wasn't allowed to order checks for her or deal with mistakes unless I was added. I'd spend two hours doing something before, but now it's less than 10 minutes. My mom also wanted to automatically transfer money into my kids' savings accounts every month, but they wouldn't do it unless I was on her account or she was on the boys'.

 

We're checking into a credit union tomorrow. They sometimes offer better "sign up now" deals (better interest rates on savings, lower minimum balance, etc.) if you start to walk away when you're there in person. We also have a bunch of questions and it's usually better to ask in person. It's location and hours are much better for our needs, so that's a big plus.

 

Thanks for the advice. Even if we don't end up with a credit card, we may end up with a better banking situation.

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