Jumping subprime to Prime :)

Discussion in 'Credit Talk' started by Marie, Jul 27, 2001.

  1. Marie

    Marie Well-Known Member

    Ok, ever wonder why our scores seem to stagnate a bit? Why the jump from subprime to prime seems to take so long?

    I am seeing more evidence that the subprime cards we love to hate combined with our own "get more cards" attitudes have been hurting us.

    I am now thinking more like a prime customer. For example, do I really need 9 (yes nine) cards??? No.

    I have 3 from Prov and 3 from Cap1. that's 2/3rds of my credit portfolio.

    Now, Providian has gotten a bit stubborn about giving me Platinum. Ugh. and I can't combine any of the cards. and I hate 16.9 w/no grace. I am about to take their thoughts that they're a "rebuilder" card, and once you rebuild, cancel. (yes, I'll keep the oldest card and use it like a T&E). Just for length of history.

    At least I appreciate Cap1's willingness to combine my cards at any time. I want a Plat Visa and a Plat MC. No problem. I've got the Plat Visa and in 6 mos I'll combine 2 gold cards and be done.

    But my realization recently that one of the bigger score dampers is number of cards is changing my behavior.

    We get more cards to make up for our lack of credit lines on each individual card and I used to think that it'd help me to "overwhelm" my bad with recent good credit... but that very behavior (once we've rebuilt for a year or 2) is going to keep us subprime.

    EVER wonder why we can have 3 small Providian cards... but not 1 big one? It's the same risk! I get all my annual fees rebated (so I'm NOT more profitable b/c of multiple cards).

    But, what the numbers do accomplish is keeping us under prime... and in their hands. Otherwise, why not just increase my visa 1000 more instead of giving me a mc with 1000 (yes, I know most pay the annual fees=more profit). But my profile is different.

    Now Cap1 will let you turn your subprime cards into prime ones (in LOC and in terms) so I really like them the best. I keep my length on my cards and combine the new into the old. :_)

    Household looks like they'll also combine cards.

    I guess the point is this: once your subprimes hit the 12 mos mark, get your increase and see if you can combine down to LESS cards.

    Then, the higher credit lines on LESS cards will help propel you into prime...

    Just a thought from a solid now 669 FICO with too many cards.

    And yes, I acknowledge it's painful to temporarily lose credit lines (I'm already whining to myself at the prospect). But I will take the hit when it's right for each line... and close when necessary.

    Just thought I'd pass on this thought... since I think it'll help :)
  2. FeliceRodo

    FeliceRodo Well-Known Member


    Didn't you post recently that a lender counts credit at the two year mark as a big boost to your credit score?

    So if we all take your advice, which sounds very good and rational, close down to say, 2 Visa's and one dept. store card, how do you gain on a low fico (mine is 609)?
  3. dave

    dave Well-Known Member

    I've got two Orchards, an MBNA, two Citibanks, AT&T Universal, Nextcad and a Walmart. My credit score is 740. According to one analysis, this number of cards is boosting my score. I don't think I actually need all of them but there is something to be said for having the flexibility to move debt around to get the best deal and it does provide some insurance against a capricious rate increase.

    I have dedicated uses for each card. Citibiank always offers low balance transfer rates on the plat. so I carry a transfer balance on it but never use it for charges. The Aadvantage is used for everyday purchases to get miles. If I can't pay it off each month, I transfer the balance to MBNA (on a teaser of 3.9) or Nextcard to get lower rates.

    The two Orchards are problematic and I thought of closing them but decided to hold off to see if I can get an upgrade with better terms. They may also be worth keeping because they are my oldest accounts still open. For cash advances, MBNA is the best because the rate is still 3.9 but soon to be 12.99. Nextcard occasionally sends a check that can be used for cash advances at 9.99.

    My credit history took a dramatic turn for the better in 2000. Before then, I had two Capital Ones, two Orchards and a Providian and that was it. The credit limits on them had grown from low three digit numbers to mid and upper fives. At that point, I started getting prime cards. So, I think that having a few cards with decent limits helps to cross over into prime like Marie says but after that a large number of cards does not seem to be a drag on the credit score. It may actually help since it is easier to maintain a low balance/limit ratio with several high limit cards.
  4. Jim

    Jim Well-Known Member

    Marie, congrats on being a FICO 669, two - three years after a Chap 7 BK. If what I just said is correct, you and I have very similar credit history.

    What you said is very compelling but...

    I have a 10 cc accounts plus 1 auto loan.

    On creditexpert, I am showing 13 open tradelines because 3 accounts that are closed are not showing it. At no time when my credit was analyzed did I get told to curb the amount of accounts.

    My TU score is in the low 800's with 2 BK discharged accounts showing But no public record of the BK. When TU screwed up and deleted an unrated account instead of updating it - my score dropped 15 points.

    Be careful here.

  5. parasky

    parasky Member

    Hi Marie, I'm kind of where you are. I have been cleaning up my credit for the last year or so, and now am trying to make the jump from subprime to prime. I have two capital one accounts and a providian account. I just recently got an Amex. Now I'm not sure what to do. I know I have the scores to get prime accounts, they are all around 740, but I don't want to lose the long history on my subprime accounts. I also don't want to add a bunch of new cards because each new card lowers my score at least for awhile. For example, my experian score dropped 22 points when the Amex was added.
  6. Marie

    Marie Well-Known Member

    I think once you jump from low 600s to mid to high 600s the extra cards don't hurt as much... but when you're deep into subprime but climbing out I think combining cards is a great strategy.

    I'd also love to have Jim's luck :) I'll make my own with lawsuits :) Just got Experian confirmation. They ignored the bk dispute completely. Digging their own grave!!!

    If I could combine all my Prov cards into the old visa I'd be happy (I'd use it for gas and use the line for the ratios)...

    Keep Cap1 (or 2).

    Then... Amex product of some sort. I'm thinking Optima but may need to start green. Once I add Amex (it's my next step) I know I can recover some prime cards. Since I know I'm going for Amex, I know they like to see less activity, low ratios, and slim to none inquiries. A GOAL is determining my course of action now.

    I guess if closing an account or 2 or 4 will propel me more into prime scores, I'm all for it. If I could replace 2 Prov cards with one MBNA, ok!!!

    I'd love to eventually get 5-10 prime cards with good ratios. I'd love that flexibility. Again, I think there's more flexibility when you're solidly prime (inquiries don't hurt as much, I know that for sure). You get perks on the assumption that you're "prime" and those assumptions give you better offers that keep you more financially solvent (less interest, for one).

    Jim's score is now prime. YOu have more flexibility in what you choose, and in how little it'll hurt you now because the bk big entries have vanished. Prime credit is a different animal altogether. I don't think they say "too much" til you hit your income/ to credit issues. Until then they pray you'll take their money :_)))
  7. Jim

    Jim Well-Known Member


    I was alittle pressed for time when I responded to you here earlier. Just a clarification, my EX and TU scores are high but I have a 673 Equifax score because the BK made it into the public record unlike on EX and TU. Therefore, I am quite interested in what happens with your legal challenge.

    In the Sunday Orange County Register here in CA.; OPTIMA got discussed. A writer complained that he/she had been late once. Apr. went from 9.9% or so to 23.9% for the next year! That is as bad as Providian.

  8. Marie

    Marie Well-Known Member


    I was reading a post about Amex green hurting your score but I can't find it...

    ratios? again
  9. Jim

    Jim Well-Known Member

    Hi Marie!

    I remember that the negative effect of AMEX on your credit score has been discussed here but I don't know "who all" brought it up. I know that there are big fans of AMEX here but AMEX doesn't stand behind you as a customer if you are unsatisifed with the purchase of a product bought overseas. Also, the high annual fee.

    You and I have been spoiled by Mr. Miller at Cap One. Truly remarkable guy when he can help.

  10. Jugnoo

    Jugnoo Well-Known Member


    Have you had such an experience with Amex? Please share some details.

  11. Jim

    Jim Well-Known Member

    Hi Jugnoo,

    Ye, I was first informed this by AMEX when traveling to the UK in 1992 in regard to my AMEX gold card. Two days ago, I was listening to a radio discussion on foreign travel. I t was repeated again.

    I got rid of my gold card in 1995. I didn't use it that much to justify the fee. If you are an AMEX customer or considering getting the card - contact them directly and ask. I never had any problems with my AMEX gold card. The reps as I recall answer the phone very quickly and are well versed in the benefits.

  12. Surphie

    Surphie Well-Known Member

    AmEx Online Fraud Protection Guarantee:
    Use the American Express Card online, and you won't be responsible for any unauthorized charges. Period. No fine print, no deductible - just pure protection, so you can shop with confidence anywhere on the Internet (overseas and all around the world)

    Also, Blue and other AmEx cards as well have no annual fee.

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