Well, it finally looks like I have a credit history and a credit report. So I decided to test this by applying for a credit card. After looking around a bit, I used the Capital One lab to build a card with no annual fee.
Yesterday, my first credit card arrived in the mail.
Before activating it, I read through the all the paperwork with a highlighter (for the important parts) to make sure there weren’t any hidden fines or fees and that it was really what I applied for. My credit limit is $500. APR is 12.5%, but I don’t intend to ever carry a balance.
My plan for using this credit card: Paying our cell phone bill each month and then paying it off as soon (using the online option) as the charge shows up. Otherwise, the card will live in a safe place in our apartment so that it can’t easily be stolen or used on impulse.
The sole purpose of this card is for continuing and improving my credit history. It’s not for arbitrage, rewards, etc. I want to keep buying things because I have the money not because I can finance it.
Why I didn’t apply for a rewards card: At this point, we won’t be using the card enough for the rewards to really mean anything. In a few years we’ll re-evaluate, but getting the most from a rewards card requires a good strategy and using it for most of our purchases. I don’t feel like screwing it up, especially since the credit game isn’t really weighted towards the customer.
Why I want a credit history: Because this means I should actually be able to do things like sign up for a Money Market without going through loads of paperwork because they don’t know that I exist.
For a little light reading, here are some highlights from the history of my quest for a credit history:
- In which Mrs. Micah’s social security number doesn’t work when she tries to sign up for a Money Market Account.
- In which Mrs. Micah talks to a customer service representative from freecreditreport who confirms that Experian, the credit bureau, has no record of her.
- In which Mrs. Micah applies for an Amex card in hopes of getting a credit history.
- In which Mrs. Micah is rejected by Amex because she does not exist and applies to be a joint account holder on Micah’s account.
- In which she is accepted (after some paperwork) as a joint account holder…I couldn’t find any post about this. But I was.