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My First Credit Card…continuing the saga

Previously on Mrs. Micah:

As I’ve said before, I don’t really want a credit card. What I want is some kind of credit history. And this seems like one of the easiest ways of doing it.

So we went another route and I got added as a joint full card owner on Micah’s card. He has a good history with them. And since he hasn’t spent on it in a long long time, I bet they’re hoping that I’ll start spending on it. I was going to say that they’re wrong…but they’re actually right. For a few months, we’re going to use it to pay the cell bill and pay it off every time.

My new card arrived in the mail today and it made me happy! Success! It’s a positive step in my plan.

Then I’m going to apply for another card in a couple months…see what happens.

While being on Micah’s card could improve my credit history through the age (since it now thinks I’ve had the card since 2002), I don’t want my credit to be permanently tied to his…among other things, his credit history reflects all his debt. So I’ll get removed from that account once my own card goes through and I’ve had it for a month or two.

Then we’ll use my credit card for the cell bill, since Micah already has plenty of history but I need some.

The end goal is to get my own credit card, use it for a regular payment and that only, and build my own credit history.

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Why I Don’t Think I Would Have Done As Well If I Had To Work My Way Through College
May 29, 2008 at 11:01 am

{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

SJean February 20, 2008 at 10:32 pm

I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now, and I wonder about Micah’s student loan debt. Like, when did you first find out about it (or have you always known), do you feel upset about it ever, etc. I know you obviously love him a great deal (duh, you married him!) but it seems like you are amazingly cool about it. Have you already written about this?

If you don’t want to answer, no prob–it is a bit personal, but I think it would make an interesting post.

Also, good luck with the credit card plan. Seems like you got it under control!

mrsmicah February 20, 2008 at 10:50 pm

Fortunately, I’ve pretty much always known. We were together for 5 years (and 2 days) before we were married…so I knew what I was in for in many ways. I probably knew for 3-4 years before we were married.

I’m often surprised how little it bothers me. It may help that I’ve seen him teaching and I just know that’s what he’s meant to do. There are those moments when you realize that someone’s perfect for something and he’s perfect for teaching philosophy. So I think it’s not wasted money.

But then he’s also got major depressive disorder and I’ve gotten used to being with someone who will probably never be happy for more than a few hours at a time… (when he’s teaching is one of those times he’s truly happy) In comparison, the money isn’t so bad.

Of course, there’s a lot of things about me which he’s learned to live with.

savvy February 20, 2008 at 11:33 pm

Just one note, your credit history won’t be tied to Micah’s outside of that one card. The only thing that should show up on your credit report is credit in your name regardless of if he has other debt.

mrsmicah February 20, 2008 at 11:36 pm

Thanks, savvy. Credit reports and such are annoying/confusing.

There was a point when I actually seemed to have a credit score, maybe, because they’d gotten my parents mortgage tied up with me. But we got that disentangled. Therefore, I don’t quite trust credit agencies to get stuff straight. But I could always demand a correction.

Andrew Stevens February 20, 2008 at 11:36 pm

You shouldn’t have to be worried about being “tied to his credit.” The only thing that will show up on your credit history is that particular credit card. There shouldn’t be anything else about his credit history there (good or bad). So there is no need to cancel yourself from it and, when you do, you’ll lose the length of credit history that you’ve just gained (and you’ll go back to when your own credit history starts, which is some time in the future).

However, I’m not an expert. I’m pretty sure that’s right though.

Andrew Stevens February 20, 2008 at 11:38 pm

Oops, savvy beat me to it while I was writing my post.

Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife February 21, 2008 at 7:44 am

The only thing you’d have to worry about “being tied to his debt” is if you were to buy a house. They would use the credit score and finances of the one in the marriage who is lower….so, the worst that could happen is that you’d pay a higher interest rate and could possibly borrow less because of his situation.

Megan February 21, 2008 at 9:29 am

This was a great idea!

I actually think that part of the reason I have such a great credit score is because in college, my parents added me to their Discover card for emergencies, since I couldn’t get a card with a limit over $500. The account was opened when I was 6! But I have asked them to keep me on the account, even though I no longer have a copy of the card, because that’s a 20+ year history of great credit card use.

I realize that at some point, I will have to be taken off their account, and my oldest card is about 7 years old right now, so I’m probably ok in terms of credit history. But that 20+ years is something hard to give up 🙂

Becky@FamilyandFinances February 21, 2008 at 9:39 am

I’m glad that ended up working for you! It’s a pretty sweet deal to have a 6-year credit history with just a phone call !

Becky@FamilyandFinances February 21, 2008 at 9:42 am

Oh, and I’ll verify what others have said. When I got added to my husband’s credit card, only that card showed up on my report. His mortgage, his old student loans, and his other credit cards are not on my report and my old mortgage and my credit cards are not on his report.
I’ve been waiting to see what you decided to do – thanks for the update!

plonkee February 21, 2008 at 11:21 am

I was wondering whether you wish you had applied for a credit card whilst in college, where anecdotally they are easier to get. Of course, hindsight is a terrible thing, but I can’t imagine you being anything other than ridiculously sensible with a credit card.

mrsmicah February 21, 2008 at 12:14 pm

I actually did apply for one in college but didn’t get it. I should have tried for an explicitly student card.

Randall at CreditWithdrawal February 21, 2008 at 12:50 pm

Maybe you can do the same trick mentioned earlier, get added to your parent’s card, but don’t have access to it?? Wonder if that would boost your rating quick?? (Assuming your parents would add you)

RacerX February 21, 2008 at 2:08 pm

Just as a heads-up FICO 08 places de-emphasis on shared history compared to before…it still counts but some were buying history from those that had a great score and floating theirs.

Use this as a start and establish your own as well!

Good for you!

Jesse February 21, 2008 at 4:29 pm

Congrats, now just don’t get addicted to plastic! (though Im pretty sure you wont 🙂 )

PiggyBankBlues February 21, 2008 at 6:24 pm

sounds like you’re on the right track!

did you apply for an amex credit card or charge card? you might have better luck with an amex charge card. later in the year you may want to try an easier company, like capital one or chase. amex isn’t the easiest company to get a card from…

Funny about Money February 22, 2008 at 12:27 am

Might want to try getting a retail store credit card. Talbot’s, for example, practically throws credit at its customers. Go in when they’re having a smokin’ sale, buy one (count it, 1) shirt on sale, and apply for a card while you’re buying. They usually approve you while you’re standing there.

Weirdly, sometimes more upscale stores have easier credit. It can be easier to get a card at Saks or Nieman’s than at Penny’s or Sears. Maybe they just figure those rich folks are good for the debt??? Saks has some incredible sales, especially right after Christmas, when very nice stuff can be had for good prices.

If there’s a Costco near where you live, you might also consider applying for AMEX thru’ Costco. You get a little kickback on purchases, there’s no annual fee, and the card doubles as a membership card. Drawback is that you DO have to buy a Costco membership.

wealthy_1 February 24, 2008 at 4:31 pm

When I tried to get off of my husband’s credit card, he was told that he would have to close out that card and open an new one in his name. I hope the two of you will have an easier time of it.

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