Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I Got a Credit Card (!!!)

So I had this idea last week.  I thought that it might be time to get a credit card in my name.  Hubby has a credit card in his name which he rarely ever uses (our health insurance payment is billed to his credit card and we pay it off each month, that's about all).  He also is an authorized user on his sister's credit card which for some reason shows up on his credit report even though he only uses it when she asks him to use the card to get money to give her kids (however his sister uses the card for nearly every single purchase she makes in order to get air miles and she seems to use it A LOT.  But she also pays it off each month in full so this makes hubby's credit score really high).

A couple months ago I needed a credit card to bill my monthly Skype payment to (I used PayPal the first month but since I haven't used PayPal in ages there was only enough for one month's fee) so I used hubby's credit card (I didn't want to let some company access either of my bank accounts because they are covered by my savings and I didn't want some glitch or theft or something like that to drain my bank account).

Then last week I figured it was high time to get a credit card.  Besides my name being on our mortgage, I have absolutely NO credit.  I haven't had a credit card for more than three years when we got gazelle intense, paid off all of our debts and credit cards, and promptly cancelled our credit cards a la Dave Ramsey.  It was a refreshing feeling to have no debt.  Plus since then I have had no income to speak off (odd jobs here and there but nothing steady) so it didn't make sense to have a credit card because I didn't want any outstanding bills that I had no way to pay.

Now that I have a grip on my spending plus a relatively steady source of income plus the need for #1 some sort of credit history (I don't want to rely only on hubby's credit history) and #2 a credit card to put some revolving expenses on, I took the plunge.

I had heard that it makes sense to apply for credit cards all on the same day instead of one at a time so that it won't show that multiple businesses have checked your credit so I sat down and figured I would apply for four credit cards in the hope that at least one would give me a credit card.

I applied for credit card #1 through my credit union.  They even called and confirmed my info and asked why I didn't have any credit so I explained that I paid off my debts a few years ago and have used cash to pay for everything since then.  She said she would talk to the underwriter and get back to me.  She called me back and said "sorry, you don't have enough credit...to get a credit card."  Uh, OK.

I applied for credit card #2 because I got a flyer in the mail from REI that said if I applied for a credit card and used it within the first 60 days after I get it, I will get a free $100 REI gift card.  Wow, that sounded nice.  I applied online, made sure there was no annual fee, and it said I was approved.  But to date I haven't heard anything from them.

I considered applying for credit card #3 through Capital One.  I used to have a Capital One credit card but got tired of having a massive balance hanging over my head so I sold a bunch of stuff, sold some old gold, gathered up some of my paycheck, paid it off in a lump sum, and took great pleasure in calling to cancel the account.  They were sad to see me go.  But over the last few years they continue to send me "we want you back" emails so I considered reapplying for a credit card through that company but noticed it had an annual fee.  I don't want to pay an annual fee so decided not to apply for that one after all.

I then went on and applied for credit card #4 through my other credit union.  The application was simple, it was all done online, they didn't even call to confirm anything, there was no annual fee, and they had a super low interest rate (which I WILL NOT NEED because I WILL NOT carry a balance from month to month).  Today I got a credit card in the mail with a $5000 credit limit.  Wow, color me surprised!

So now I am the happy (?!) owner of one, possibly two credit cards.  I don't plan to use them for anything except my monthly Skype payment and my annual web hosting payments.  I intend to pay the card off each month, and I will not use the card if I don't have the money to pay for the item I am purchasing (like if we get plane tickets, I will have the cash in my bank account BEFORE I use the credit card then pay the credit card off the minute to charge hits my account).

My goal is to #1 prove that I can handle credit responsibly, and #2 grow some sort of credit history (which I hope to never need but you never know, at least having a good credit history as opposed to no credit history is--I think--a good thing).  We shall see.  I used to look at new credit cards like "free" money raining down on me.  Now I look at them like someone is handing me a porcupine--it's a nice, interesting animal best handled carefully and with extreme caution.


  1. I am a true believer in responsible credit. We travel a lot but use our credit cards for everything (making about 5 payments a month as pay it off as soon as we charge it) and get lots of free air tickets which help our family and our business. I do pay an annual fee of $100 and hubby has a separate credit card which he pays about the same but between the two I estimate our air savings is $1500 to $2000 per year. I definitely think you should have your own credit card, things seem destined to exclude those who don't have credit in the future.

  2. Good for you April. I think it's important to have a credit card and to have a good credit rating as well. We have two cards plus a gas card and that's it.We pay the balances off each month and accumulate points that we can put toward purchases. Living a cash only life is fantastic, but credit cards are a necessary evil in today's world. They just need to be used responsibly.

  3. You are both right..I say as I tiptoe into the world of responsible credit card use...