Credit Cards For Dummies: 10 Frequently Asked Questions

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I’ve been blogging about deals for over 9 years now, but my passion is in miles and travel, I live and breath those deals and am a hopeless addict.  There can be worse addictions, I’ve been able to fly with my wife and kids on hundreds of first class flights and stay in 5 star hotels for practically nothing.  There’s no great secret in how I accumulated over 20 million miles and points as well as several lifetime elite status levels. It’s just about taking full advantage of everything from signup bonuses to dollar coins to Wendy’s cups to Faster Free Nights to………….

Many people are scared of credit cards for a variety of reasons but only one is valid: buying things they can’t afford and falling into debt.  Once you fall into a debt trap the entire thing will become a net loss, guaranteed.  Otherwise they represent the lowest hanging fruit in the miles and points world.

Here are some of the most common questions I get asked:

Q: Isn’t it bad for your score to close a card?
A: I have a FICO in the 800s, among the best scores in the country. And I’ve closed hundreds of cards.

Understanding how your score works is key here. The 2 primary factors making up 65% of your score are your payment history and the amount of money you owe. So always make sure to protect those.

A credit card continues to benefit the length of your credit history (the 3rd most important factor at 15% of your score) for 10 years after its been closed.

The only negative outcome of closing a card is losing the credit line, which can hurt your credit utilization. That can be avoided in several ways. Many banks allow you to move a line of credit onto a different card. Some banks may be more willing to approve you for another card contingent on moving part of line of credit from an older card onto a newer card. Or they may want to completely close out the older card and move the entire line onto the newer card.

Now you have to strike the right balance between your income and your total credit. You don’t want to have too much total credit. So don’t sweat it if you have to close a card, you can always get another to get your credit line back up to where it was.

Note that while you can close a card via secure message or chat without having to call up, typically if you call up, the retentions department may offer to waive the fee for another year or give you miles to keep the card.  Even if they don’t do that many cards can be downgraded to a free version and you’ll get a refund of the annual fee.  You have between 30 and 60 days from when an annual fee is billed to have it refunded if you close a card.

Q: Isn’t it really bad to close your first ever credit card?
A: Perhaps.
It’s a good idea to start off with a no-annual fee card as your oldest card so you don’t have to close it.  For example, Chase Freedom is a great no-fee card.
If you have one card which is wayyy older than other cards then you will want to keep it open and that establishes your credit length.
However, if your oldest card is not that much older than the next card, it won’t make a big difference.

Either way it will take 10 years after closing your oldest card until it falls off your report. So even if your oldest card is 2 years older than your next card in 10 years from now that won’t make a big difference.

Note that AMEX always reports every card you open as being opened in the year that you first got an AMEX card.  So if an AMEX was your first card then don’t sweat it as you can always get that date again by just opening a new card.

Q: Isn’t it bad for your score to open a card?
A. When you apply for a card a credit inquiry or hard pull is done on your report. New credit is one of the 2 smallest factors in your score.  It makes up 10% of your FICO score and a hard pull can lower your score by a few points. However, the negative effects of a hard pull lessen after a few months and most banks only care about the number of hard pulls from the past 3 or 6 months. After 2 years they fall off completely.

A new account will also temporarily lower the average age of your accounts, a subset of the 15% of the length of credit history category.  However that card will eventually improve your average age as it continues to help for that even if you close it for 10 years after you close it.

More importantly, when you get a new card, you get a new line of credit. 30% of your score is made up of amounts owed and credit utilization so the more credit you have, the better your score.

So the answer is that in the short-term your score may go down slightly, but longer-term your score will only go up.

Once you use that pull and apply for a card be sure you actually get that card!  It can take several tries, but typically calling or writing (via SM or even snail mail) to reconsideration departments can turn a denial into an approval, especially if you are an existing customer.

Q: Are there any tricks to raise your credit score quickly?
A: There are a few.
1. Try to pay off your credit card bills before the statement prints. Once it prints the amount owed can severely hurt your score even if you pay it off on time. I try to pay off everything but $1 so that when I get the bill in the mail I have a $1 amount owed. That shows the card is still being used, but that it’s not being maxed out.
Even if it’s too much for you to do this try to at least keep your spending when the statement closes under 25% of the credit limit of your card.
Amounts owed is 30% of your score, so this is a quick and easy way to get a nice bump.

2. 10% of your score is made up by the types of credit you have used. Have cards from multiple banks and have other kinds of loans as well.
For example, even if you can afford to pay for a car in cash you should finance it. First of all, you can usually get a nice instant rebate by financing and there’s typically no penalty to pay if off early. Second of all, once it’s paid off you’ll get a nice score boost.

3. Use business cards. Amounts owed on business cards from banks like AMEX and Chase aren’t reported on your personal credit report. So even if the statement closes with a large amount owed it won’t hurt your score like that would on a personal account.
If you even just have a hobby or want to start a business you can open up a card as a Sole Proprietor and just use your social security number instead of the Tax-ID number.

Q: I don’t make my own income, how can I get a credit card?
A: Recently the CFPB ruled that as long as you live in the same household as someone who you can rely upon to provide from their income you can include all of that household income when reporting your income on a credit application.
Income isn’t listed on your credit report, it’s based on what you report.

Q: I don’t have any cards yet and always get rejected, how can I build up my credit?
A: Start by having someone in your household or a relative add you as an additional user onto their account. Be sure that the account has been open for a while and is used responsibly and not maxed out.

After a couple months you should get a nice boost from that. Start by applying for a store card like from Gap, Kohls, Macy’s, Target, etc. as those can be easier to get approved for than real credit cards. Use the store card for a couple months (making sure to just leave $1 or so for when the bill comes to you) and then try for a real credit card.

Still not having any luck? Get a secured card. A secured card functions as a debit card except that unlike a debit card it helps your credit score. Most of these cards don’t offer miles but some like the USBank LAN card at least offers something decent.

Some banks offer a student card like Discover It Student that can also be easier to get than regular credit cards.

Q: Why is my credit score different depending on where I check it?
A: There are thousands of sites offering to give you your credit score for free. They just want your info to be able to sell you ads and other products. Their scores are called FAKOs and are basically meaningless. They look at your report and based on their own criteria make up a score on the spot. No creditor is ever going to use that score.
The only place where a consumer can buy their real FICO credit score is from MyFico.

You should always keep tabs on all 3 of your reports by using, the only government sanctioned credit report site. If there are mistakes then be sure to dispute them!

There are 3 credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and Transunion, so you will have a FICO score for all 3. Some banks, like Barclays and Discover, allow their cardholders to view one of those scores for free. Some cards, like American Express Starwood and Delta also give you your FICO Experian score via mail when you apply for a card.

To make things more complicated there are different versions of FICO scores based on criteria set in ’98, ’04, or ’08, but that’s getting way beyond the scope of this article.

Q: 3BM? AOR? What in the world is everyone on DDF talking about?
DDF, or the DansDeals Forums is chock full of good info when it comes to credit cards. The acronyms thread can help you decipher the maddening abbreviations used there. The Start here thread offer a good place to start learning more as well. Take a look at the FAQ thread as well.

In short though, a 3BM means using 3 web browsers, like Internet Explorer, Chrome, and Firefox, to apply for 3 different cards from the same bank, as close to each other as possible. An MBM jus stands for multiple browser method. Personally I’ll fill out the application form on all 3 browsers and then hit submit on all of them within a few seconds. This way you can get 3 cards with just 1 credit pull. There’s no guarantee you’ll get accepted to all 3 or that you won’t get more pulls, but this increases the odds of getting multiple cards with 1 pull.

An “AOR” or app-o-rama is the process of using multiple 3BMs from multiple banks as quickly as possible, in order to get approved for more cards from more banks. People sometimes stagger their AORs every few months to get more approvals.

Note that when applying for a Capital One credit card you will get 3 hard credit pulls every time you apply for a card, making them one of the more hated banks out there.

Q: So Capital One checks all 3 bureaus, but where do the other banks check?
It generally varies based on your home state. This DDF thread tried to make sense of the madness.

If you’re in a state where one of your reports is getting hard hit you may want to freeze that report and have a bank check another more seldomly used report to increase the odds of getting approved for a card. More info on freezing from Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. Note that some banks, like American Express, won’t be willing to check a different report and you may have to try a few times to find a rep from other banks to do it as well.

Q: But so and so expert says to always use debit cards and to cut up your credit cards?
A: If you can’t control your spending on a credit card then he’s right.
Otherwise that’s terrible advice. Not only do you throw away valuable miles by making purchases with a debit card, you also lose out on the protections that credit cards offer.
When fraud happens on a credit card you are not responsible for it while it’s being investigated. On a debit card those funds are immediately taken out of your checking account and you have to fight to get them back.
Plus credit cards offer awesome benefits like return protection and warranty extension that you won’t get from your debit card.

So just use them responsibly and reap the benefits!

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106 Comments On "Credit Cards For Dummies: 10 Frequently Asked Questions"

All opinions expressed below are user generated and the opinions aren’t provided, reviewed or endorsed by any advertiser or DansDeals.

dan fan

Does it hurt ur credit when opening a few cards in a 2 month span?@dan


Thanks Dan. Annualcreditreport gives the faco or fico ?


Hi Dan,
Thanks 4 this! Great basic info.
I know churning rules are much harder to put in writing and you have to live and learn – but could you put a basic outline together?
It could show the different policies between Amex, Chase & BOA etc. along with basic ideas of where it is kedai to keep on trying…
Just a thought (-;
Thank you!


How long after getting my first card should I apply for a second one


Thanks! Excellent synopsis for for anyone looking for a quick primer on the credit card world! I have been meaning to ask this question when you mentioned the topic in a post. If someone gets added as an authorized user, how will this be considered on their report in regards to length of credit history? Is it shown as an account since the date the account was opened, or since the date they were added as an authorized user? I’m asking because I wondered if I had an older (responsible of course) relative add me on to a few of their accounts as an AU, would that help my otherwise young credit history average?

Rapid Travel Chai

My last AOR (Feb 18) I could not get Chase consumer or small business to agree pull anything but my frozen Experian. Sounded like Amex and Citi, “we must pull the bureau that we orignally attempted.” After several calls I relented and unfroze Experian to let them pull for the 3 cards I applied, getting all of them. First time freeze did not work for me with Chase. I hope the freeze is not dead with them.


@Joe: doesn’t give any score. It just enables you to pull your reports.


There aren’t any “basic Rules”, every card is different and the rules keep changing.


Thanks Dan,

If you do another post like this can you discuss how to churn cards like Chase or Amex to take advantage of the all the signup bonuses.


The site credit karma advertises on TV/radio. They claim to give transunions credit score. They are showing me all of my credit cards that I have open and the balance thats on them and all of their info is correct. Would you say that the score they give is inaccurate as well?


Great article
Great reading even for a veteran churner


Is it the same when you close a charge card as with a credit card?


What % of income is the goldilocks zone for total credit line? If this isn’t the right way to look at it, what is a good way to decide the right amount of credit?

Yitz G

@Dan, Awesome post. Thanks. Where can I find good updated info on quick ways to reach bonus spending thresholds on new cards? I see a lot of talk about VR and BB but I’m waiting to find a post from you before I go spend the 7k and get stuck with it. Thanks!


About the additional user on a good account to build up someone’s credit:
1. After for example 1 year, is there any reason to remain on that account? Especially when the added person begins to get approved when they apply? What I want to know, is there a point in time when the new user can safely be removed from the old account? Measured in months or years?
2. Will the credit history benefit the added person for 10 years after the added person was removed from the account?



@dan fan:
Considering I never open less than a few on the same calendar day…

Doesn’t give any score.

Some things require your own research 😉

None of this is a science, everything I learned was by trial and error.

Depends on the bank but generally it will be when it’s added.
You may be able to get the bank to backdate that to when it was originally opened.

@Rapid Travel Chai:
Chase and Citi can both still be done, but it’ll take lots of HUCA and patience…

Credit Karma, Credit Poppyseed, Kredit whatever are all just FAKOs.

Great, happy you enjoyed!

Complicated topic but for the most part don’t worry about closing those as they don’t have lines of credit that are transferable.

Again, it’s not a science.
But having $200K in credit and a $50K total household income
is probably asking for trouble.

Always include full household income, the more legit total income the better it is for you.

@Yitz G:
I’ve written about those extensively, just do a search.

It might not be that simple to have an AU card removed from your account. First you’ll have to cancel it and then you’ll have to dispute it off all 3 bureaus.

Again, not really a science. But if it’s an older card then it can be worth keeping it on unless the credit line is just way too big for your income to handle.


tx for ur amazn site… does it make any difference to use 3 browsers vs using 3 tabs within one browser.


Sure, one way will work and the other will not.
Trust me, I’d much rather be calling it a 3TM if I could 😀


What’s the difference ? Why does one work and one not?

chana k

Does a 3BM have to be submitted one right after another or is it just as good if all 3 applications are submitted in the same calendar day?
thanks for your site. lots of fun and stuff.


Dan awesome aricle. Keep em coming.

What can I do if I have too much credit? I have SP, VISA BA, Freedom, United cards. Totaling abt 50k worth of credit. My income is abt that. Is that ok?


Dans what are “good spending habits” on a cc?


1) what exactly is the benefit of an AOR ? Is it that the other banks don’t see that you just applied for other cards?

2)Are there more browsers besides the ones you mentioned ? and can you just download them?

3)If you already have a few cards is there any benefit to add yourself to someone else as an AU ?, will that make your score even higher? and if yes does it make sense for 2 people to make each other AU on each others cards?


Dan, first, Thanks For your site and this post answered a lot. Second, I’ve done the 3bm, got approved for the 1st card, get the denial letter for the other two. When I call they will only give me a second card, not the third. This was Chase. To get the second i had to shuffle some credit around, No big deal. They said they can’t issue three cards in one month or something like that. How do u get the third?


I’ve completed the offers for Ink Bold 60K and Ink Plus 60K a few months ago. Should I close both cards immediately to flush them through Chase system so I can re-apply sooner? Keep one open (if so which?) & enjoy the benefits of 5% points at office supply stores? Applying for business was a hassle, will it be harder or easier next go round with approvals since I closed accounts or easier since I had them open?

On related note, is it safe to run out and generate 2 $5K VR transactions inside first month of owning card as part of dozens of active charges? Is it bad form to IMMEDIATELY transfer from BB to CC daily $1K or do I need to ‘mix it up’ with odd amounts like $999.72 vs $1K or wait until I have $5K in BB to bill pay?

Last qn – Dan, any chance you’ll ever make it out to the Dallas/DFW area to run a seminar?


@@@dan: 3 tabs register with the bank as one browser instance and it will not allow more than one application. You can also use one browser and two incognito browsers. @chana k: most reports are that multiple pulls in one calendar day count as one pull from the same bank, however the point of 3bm is higher chance of approval with the hope that three simultaneous spps all register a the first one, while 3 over the day would reach account for the prior apps and lower your chances of approval


With the new CFPB rules, can I pass a FR with no personal income by sending in my parents’ tax returns?

great article but one note

Great info!

One note which you did not mention:

Many of us followed this and were shut by chase. I spoke to the high ups in chase and was told that the reason everyone was closes was for the following reasons:

1. Too high credit limit
2. Too many applications for more credit.

So I would put a disclaimer that if you rely on your cards for work and life and cannot risk having it shut down then these credit card games are not for you.


Credit of 400% of income is bad, got it. 🙂

I understand it isn’t a science, but assuming a respectable income, is the ballpark for a typical balance point between credit and income at 25% of income? 50%? 100%? Put another way, should one always try to move credit lines from cards that are closing, and let the banks determine when to say no?


What kind of trouble could you get for having a higher credit line then income ? I tell them my total income, but they approve me for much more. Should I ask them to lower the credit on each card ?


Whats a good business credit card to open, that I can carry over a balance from month to month and pay off slowly?


How long will high credit-debt utilization show on my report after I pay down my debts?

Yitz G

Ahh yes. I found it. I only recently realized the brilliance of this site…. Before my time. 😬


Thanks Dan! Great article! One question. You say that you pay your balance before the bill is printed. Meaning right after the closing date right? And how does that help I’m not sure I understood completely. Thanks for the help!


It gets messed up.

@chana k:
It can be anytime that day for it to be one pull but better to do it at the same time to help for instant approvals.

Should be fine.

Don’t pay late and preferably pay most of the bill early.

1. By staggering pulls every few months by the time you do another AOR you have less pulls that count against you.
And if you’re quick enough they may not see other pulls.

2. I’ve done successful 12BMs 😀
Other browsers you can download include Safari, Maxthon, Opera, etc.
You can also use multiple computers.

3. I mean if it’s an older card it may help you if gets backdated or if they will backdate it.

Just need to do a lot of HUCA (Hang up and call again. And again. And again) and SMing (secure messaging) if necessary.
Your local Chase banker can also write to Recon for you if needed.

Lots of different strategies.
I have multiple Ink cards for multiple businesses for example.

Seems like VRs aren’t an issue.

Don’t think DFW will be in the cards anytime soon, but ya never know.

You should be allowed to do that. I know spousal income and even a spouses business works fine.

@great article but one note:
Everyone was closed for that? Are you kidding?

Most people were closed because:
1. They transferred UR points to someone besides their spouse.
2. They had a 3rd party write a check to pay their bill.
3. They had large amounts of cash/money order/wire transactions in their checking account.
4. Maxed out their credit lines on either a Chase or non-Chase card.
5. Cycled through their credit line several times in the same month.
6. Having a family member at the same address who did one of those things.

Yes, some also got shut down for having credit lines that far exceeded their income, something I say in this post not to do.
But if too many applications is a bad thing there would bea whole lot more shutdowns going on…

In the good news department: Points are now showing up in the accounts of people who got shut down.

Something like that. Just make sure it doesn’t get obscenely high.

If it gets way too high they may shutdown your accounts.

Ink cash has 12 months of 0% APR:

Should be back to normal in a couple months.

@Yitz G:


I wanna start by applying 3 cards from chase with a 3bm what 3 cards do you recommend?


Hi Dan,
As always very informative and helpful. What are your thoughts on someone thinking of buying a house/applying for a mortgage? Assuming one has 20% down – will having hard pulls from an AOR hurt you and if so for how long. Free miles are great but a mortgage is a big deal and a few points over 30 years adds up fast! Thanks and freilich purim!


They would approve me for all that credit & then shut my accounts ? Doesn’t sound right


Hi Dan, wondering if it’s bad to check your own credit score. I have heard that that will lower your score.


Could I have a few of the same kind of business card if I’m using my ss# ? For example 2 chase ink bold cards with different business names but using my ss#


Does the AMEX 4 card limit apply to cards issued from other banks. Would it be possible to apply for, say, the Fidelity Amex when already possessing 4 AMEX cc’s?


Hi Dan,
Thanks for always providing useful information. Question for you; I got an Amex Platinum offer of 100K points if you spend 3K in 3 months. What is the best way to cash in on this offer without being charged the $450 annual fee? Thanks.


i tried an amex 3bm and 1 was instantly approved, the other 2 they said it automatically gets put on hold for 5 days and reassessed. several different reps told me this. and by the time it will be reassessed i would prob get another pull since its 5 days later, so how do you do an amex 3bm?



This is amazing news about chase giving points back, is there a timeframe to this? My account was closed a while ago do you think I can get it back?


Do you have now?

In my experience they just ask what the pulls were for.
As long as you have a good score and a good income it won’t matter.

The approval department has nothing to do with the adverse action folks.

Checking your own credit only causes a soft pull which is not bad for your credit.
If played right it can even be good, but that’s a very complicated topic.


The 4 card limit is only for AMEX issued credit cards.
AMEX charge cards and non-AMEX issued credit cards don’t count.

Either spend quickly or just take advantage of the $200 annual fee credit to offset the fee.

They can check the report already pulled.

Have you logged in to see if they’re back?



According to my understanding the Barclays card and maybe some others run reports through Transunion. I have plenty Amex and chase cards with plenty of credit but was wondering is there any advantage to my credit of having one of those cards that runs on the Transunion? which cards are they again?


@Dan: Yes, I logged in and there is still zero points. My wife account is still locked out from then. I will give them a ring.


Thanks dan. & even if my business is 4 years old I could still use my ssn ?


Thanks Dan! Great article! One question. You say that you pay your balance before the bill is printed. Meaning right after the closing date right? And how does that help I’m not sure I understood completely. Thanks for the help!


So someone who has dozens of cards must be reporting 6 digits in income ? ( with such a high credit line their accounts would be shut down )


@D: before the closing date


It doesn’t matter, they report data to all 3.
They just typically only check 1 when pulling your score.

People’s points have been coming back in waves.
Maybe check again in a week.


If your statement closes and prints on the 1st then you should pay it off before then.

Again, none of this is a science. It’s not like you’re for sure going to get shut down just because you make $50K and have $150K in credit lines.

But it can be a trigger.


is it a guarantee amex will use the report already pulled or is there a chance they pull another one 5 days later?


There are no guarantees in the cc world. It is not a science.


Thanks. Is having a higher credit line then income alone enough for a trigger, or only if someone does one of the no-nos you mentioned ?


Is capital one only a problem when opening the card bec it runs all 3 reports or even once I have it they run reports which hurts the credit?


Thanks a lot Dan.
1. Starwoods card: how much $$ should I expect to get in return for my points? Where can I get the highest cash return? (I wish I could use it to travel but rarely get the chance).
2. If I close my account do I need to redeem points first? Is it downgrade-able? Do they ever waive fees (I rarely use the card now).
3. Chase Sapphire Preferred – if downgraded are point values decreased or lost?
4. Do you hold any cards with annual fees? Which are worth keeping (for people who rarely travel)?
Thank again


Typically it’s the combination of several factors that can cause a shutdown.

Just when opening. However there are usually better cards out there anyway.

1. You gotta shop around yourself.

2. Which account? For Starwood the points stay there. It’s not down-gradable but they may waive the fee or give you points to stay.

3. The points are the same but you need the preferred card or ink bold/plus to transfer into miles.

4. If you never travel? Probably not worth paying any fees considering how many first year free offers there are.

I pay $100/year for United Club as that gives 1.5 miles per dollar spent.


Q: 6. how can I build up my credit?: you write to be added as an authorized user.
I think you should point out that being added as a joint user (equally responsible, you’ll have to call the bank, and they will send you a form in the mail to fill out – at least by Chase) is better and quicker at building your credit, since its considered your account as well, but its still not as good as a sole owner of an account.


Actually an authorized user does the trick just fine without that responsibility.

Either way I don’t think Chase does joint cc accounts anymore.


Why would my credit limit increase request be denied if I pay my bills in full every month? My credit report is clean except for my parent’s credit card that I used to be on and a $5,000 student loan. Thanks!


What happened on your parent’s card exactly?


@D: you miss understood, lets say your bill closes the 15th and then they give you 25 days to pay it up, always pay before the 15th like this when the 15th comes around you only owe them a couple of dollars and then pay that up after the bill comes.


u mentioned that u pay 100 dollars a year for united club. how??? i thought its 395 a year??


You write that you make your statement close with $1.

When I did that, credit karma/sesame… considered my credit utilization at 0% since my credit limit is more then $100, so its like i didn’t use the card that month.

Isn’t it better to close my bill at %1 (lets say $100, for $10,000 credit limit)


one of the great features of this website, is expert advice for free. 🙂


I’m a lifetime elite/club member.

Those are FAKOs. For gosh sakes, ignore them. Their scores and calculations are meaningless.

At any rate though, under $1 or under 1% of your line, or nothing at all will be just fine.



How are you paying $100 for the united club card?


you wrote “A: Start by… add you as an additional…”
do they need to include my ss#? can i start building credit for my minor kid by adding his name as an AU now?

simmie pinto

I want to close an account that I opened a long time ago that charges me a maintenance fee. How do I go about doing that without damaging my credit? I have a clean record with payments & a high score.


@Dan: Many Thanks for this wealth of information.
I have the following question tho:
My tween son was added as an AU on one of my primary CCs to help build his credit-history, but the issuer did not ask for his ssn.
I guess this in turn will be a useless path?



I got a question regarding credit utilization. Will using my full credit limit ($2,000) throughout my card cycle effect my credit score even if I pay it off fully (and leave like $5) before statement date?


Thanks for the gr8 info!

1)Where can I find ideas how to reach the min. spending to get those bonus points? (I’m a new reader on your site so I don’t understand those codes)

2)If i have to spend let say 10k to get a bonus. and my income is 50k. how can i spend 10k a month

3)h’come no1 mentioned this offer?


One more question: What’s the problem of having som1 paying my creit card bill. am I not allowed to let some1 use my card and he should pay the bill? (maybe I should add him/her as an AU?)


Dan after getting a refund for AF card for downgrading to free card if I change my mind (they claim can decide up to 30 days)and wanna stay with original card you think they will bill me again the AF?


You can include the SSN though if you don’t they will try to locate it anyway.

@simmie pinto:
Read the post for how to close an account.

They can locate his SSN automatically, try checking his credit report.

It shouldn’t though maxing out a card may cause a financial review or adverse action.

1. Search for Bluebird, Vanilla, Amazon Paymnets, etc.
2. Why do you have to do it in a month? Either way it is doable.
3. Sure I did,

It’s a known trigger that will get you shut down.



Dan I have heard about SM secure messaging so many times can you please explain what it is? Thank you.


What’s the best app out there that you suggest to keep track of all my cards/ due dates etc? After signing up to so many it’s hard to keep track.


1- if I use incognito say 3 from chrome wood that work as 3bm ?
2- how bout same browser but different computers?
3- I find it always very frustrating when doing 3/4bm
That some of them expire before you can fill out the others- any1 have any tips? Any idea which ones expire the quickest?


Dan, nothing happened on my parent’s cc – I just got married and wasn’t on it anymore. But I have a credit score over 800.


does adding a user to an amex card trigger a pull? amex is asking for the user’s ss#


@dsh321: no


Every time I read that you have gained elite status over the years from accumulated spending bonuses and mile promos, I have to ask how?
Other than thru 2012 on AA, when all CC miles counted toward MM status, I am not aware of any other methods by traveling on award tickets..or accumulating thousands of bonus miles.

Would that be something you could explain a little more?

explain on @Novo

I’m ref. to @ Novo. 1) thanks for your response Dan. Are these methods safe and can you please provide some info or link on how to do it?

2) wanna spend in one month cuz I’m ref. to the AA 100k and I wanna cancel within the month so i won’t be charged the $450 AF

explain on @Novo

I tried to ask from citi to convert my AA to card with no AF cuz I the 13k avail. credit but 2 reps told me the same thing, you can’t convert a new account you have to wait at least 6-12 months. ANY SUGGESTIONS? i don’t wanna pay the AF but i need the avail. credit


Dan, Thanks!

After reading your post, I checked American Express website and they let me get for free a report from Experian(I have an account and CC with them)
The Report is including a score and as well a report from Experian only(they call it PLUS Score1 from Experian – not sure how accurate it is but their comment “Your PLUS Score is a numerical representation of your credit risk on a scale very similar to those used by lenders. Your PLUS Score is based on the information contained in your credit report.”)

here is the website:

AMEX also posted on this login:

Buy now to view your Credit Report from the 3 major bureaus. A fee of only $1.00 for your first 30 days of membership will be billed to your Card account upon successful purchase. Thereafter, a Credit Secure fee of $14.99 will be automatically charged to your Card account until you cancel. Sales tax added where applicable.

Thanks again!


I got a promotional email today, from CapitalOne which sates:

“Get ready to shop! You’re already pre-approved for up to $30,000 in auto financing with Capital One®. Just check out all the great vehicle choices that await you at our dealer partner, Nissan of Queens, during the sales event from 03/14/2014 through 03/22/2014.

You can get started now! Simply confirm your pre-approved status online or by phone. Your pre-approval code is……..”

Confirm your pre-approved status by visiting us online and RSVP for the car sales event at Nissan of Queens.
Confirm your status by calling 1-800-685-9508.
Have your pre-approval code….. ready.”

Then there is also a large banner button to click on to “confirm my status now”.

I have no need for any car purchase any time soon but I wouldn’t mind clicking if it perhaps help my credit, by having it show as being approved for a Line of Credit.

But I have no idea if they are offering me a real line of credit, which will show on my credit report as unused available credit or if it is just, some sort of Bait to get me to purchase a car which I have no need for and perhaps, unless I actually make this purchase and only at their Nissan specific dealer, perhaps I will have nothing at all except for a wasted hard pull?



To Dan I am wondering why you haven’t posted about the lifemiles visa signature card 40000 miles bonus. Also to anyone who can answer the following question including Dan, what is the best thing to do when approved for the basic card instead of the premier card with all the bonus miles only because of having another card with a high credit limit with US Ban. They say that now it has been approved the only thing I can do is apply again. Do you think that’s advisable to do and then call right away and explain to the credit analyst exactly what I am trying to accomplish ?


Where did everybody go ? Is there no one who can respond to my inquiry ?


Can we get a dummies post with your bottom line recommendation on credit cards? As in, “Get these three cards, use the first for general purchases, the second for gas, and the third for travel” or something like that for those of us who don’t want to spend 100 hours reading through posts? Thanks for all your help.


I got chase sapphire preferred for 40,000 bonus miles what would an other good one be for a large bonus sign up?????
(i was looking into US Airways Premier World MasterCard and Chase british airways and Citi Hilton HHonors Card)
2nd – how does it work to transfer miles from two different cards to get one ticket and with the offers they give(first class boarding) with using that card????



is there any reason u leave 1$ on your bill and not just $.01


@Dave: Click the “credit cards” tab on the top on the page, and Dan goes through the pros and cons of his favorite cards. And in other posts under the “credit card posts” tab he discusses which card to use when.

Eli B

My Building just recently issued a notice that we can pay our rent online… Does this count towards any category in regards to Chase Sapphire or Freedom? Which card should I use?

ben gold

In 2010, At 18 yrs old I opened my first credit card from wells Fargo and I had this card until Jan 2014 when it was closed due to inactivity?, now I’m looking to open a new card that has rental car insurance, decent cash back, and that would allow me a high credit limit. A card that offers good warranty’s and return policy’s is always a plus. And I don’t fly often.
Is it worth paying an annual fee??
Which card is right for me?


I have been doing the 1 dollar statement balance method since you posted this, and have seen increase in credit score, so thank you.
A few of my credit cards don’t let me carry a balance of 1$ as I’m sure you are aware. It’s probably a cost beneficial thing on their part, so they just adjust my balance to 0$
While this is a wonderful handout that is uncharactaristic of banks 🙂 I actually want that balance to show activity. Do you have this issue? Do you think 2$ will be enough to stay on or should I just let them keep crediting me the dollar and carry the balance on my more used accounts. (Still small amount compared to total available credit from all cards)

me too

For iPhone, ‘mint’ is definitely the way to go. It’s free and really easy.
Sorry soo late


Dear Dan,

I just found out that my oldest card – 25 years old, a Citi Thank You Preferred MC – was closed due to non-use for a long period of time. Citibank told me that to re-open it would require a hard pull. Is it worth the hard pull to re-establish my oldest (by far) credit account?

With appreciation,


Will closing a business credit card have the same effect on your credit score then closing a personal card? Will it have any effect?


Hi dan,

After canceling a card when can you reapply for that same card to receive the signup bonuses?


Dan, I wonder if someday you could do a post with some pointers for handling recon calls, particularly where you’ve had the card (and bonus!!) in the past. The banks have gotten very good at remembering things, these days. They’ll ask why you closed the account you had two years ago, and why you want to reopen it now.

Amex, of course, had gone all the way and simply made all bonuses once per lifetime. Is there any way around that? What about their business cards? Do they mind that all of Dan’s businesses change their minds about Amex Platinum every time there’s a sweet offer?


Unfortunately, this post, while comprehensive and useful, contains some inaccurate information that someone who plays the miles game but doesn’t specialize in credit building can easily make. There is nothing wrong with this, but given the blind trust some of your readers have in you, you should leave a disclaimer. Of course, you’re still one of the foremost experts in effectively using miles, with experience and information that only trial and error can get you.


If you have a correction then say what it is.


Hi Dan,
First, many thanks! I’m so grateful for the info here!
I avoided cc for many years out of fear.
NOW, wanna go all in and looking for some guidance. I read many of the threads here and I’d really appreciate some more advice. Would you be so kind?
I got a BOA secured card 10 months ago, cl 1300. Last WEEK, security deposit was returned and cl raised to 2800 on their initiative.
Got chase amazon for 5 months. Cl 500.
Tu score (from ck) is 720. Equifax 680. I own rental properties value 120k that are paid and I will be looking for a line of credit for about half of that.
How do you recommend to take it from here? The goal of course to Maximize benefits while building credit.
Income is around 20k/y. BTW, how is that income # on the application verified? Is it compared to tax report or similar?
What is your take on the likes of credit karma?
What is it about the balance btwn income and total credit?
B”H I got some funds I can utilize for this presses.
Thanks a million!

ER Seidman

Just a heads up that on 13 Sep 2017 Shlomo Sixt would not accept my Chase Sapphire Preferred card for CDW & TP at Ben Gurion airport. My price went from the $138 reservation price for 5 days to $241!!! It was 5 AM and no other car rental company would give me a better price telling me I had to have made my reservation in advance (and/or from outside Israel) to not pay CDW & TP. Took the rental from Shlomo Sixt. Communicated with their customer service (not much service!) via e-mail. Was told they canceled that “contact” two weeks earlier with Chase. Visa Credit Card Services said there is no such thing as a contact. It is up to any merchant to accept or refuse terms. I pushed Shlomo Sixt as on my reservation it said make sure you contact your credit card company (which I did) to see if they cover CDW & TP in Israel. Chase Sapphire Preferred does. Ultimately the woman I was dealing with at Shlomo Sixt said they don’t even accept Chase Sapphire Preferred for payment. A lie as it is on my card statement! So look elsewhere and not with Shlomo Sixt if you want to use your Chase Sapphire Preferred card for CDW & TP! Also customer service at Shlomo Sixt sucks.

ER Seidman

Sorry… that was supposed to read canceled that “contract”!!!!!

Rifky Kraus

I want to accumulate miles, which credit card would be the best one to use?