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College senior - when should I open up another cc? Need help raising score.
I am currently a senior in college set to graduate in May this year. I have had a secured credit card w/ a $500 limit for the past 2 summers. Unfortunately, a medical bill from an ER visit resulted in a "closed collections" in the amount of ~$173. My score on CreditKarma is 703. I have a student loan in the amount of $19,500.

I want a Chase Sapphire Preferred Card, but I also need to build my credit up before applying. When I graduate, and start work full time I plan to buy a car w/ $10k cash and finance $5k in order to help build my credit. What else can I do in the meantime to raise my credit score? I want a card with great rewards and also a larger credit limit. My payment history and utilization of credit limit is perfect.

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You're doing great so far. Try and keep up with your monthly bills and with things like the ER bill in the future. I wouldn't open anything else until you're making consistent income. Here are some general things you can do to improve and maintain your score.

How to improve your score

-Consistently pay your bills as agreed upon every month. Make sure you're NEVER late. Change your billing dates if they currently hit at inconvenient times of the month.

-Pay down your revolving balances so you're at <20% overall (add ALL of your balances together and calculate 20%. This is your goal balance to carry. You can carry $0 balances on all cards but 1 with 20% or les on it. Or you can spread the 20% across all cards).

-Review your credit reports from all three bureaus ( will give you one from each every year). Make sure there are no errors or inconsistencies and contact the bureaus individually to dispute errors.

-Do not apply for new credit cards or lines of credit (car loans, cell phones, mortgages, anything that requires an inquiry)

-Do not close any cards once the balance is $0, or if you do close cards, leave the one with the highest limit and the oldest one

-Review your accounts in collections section, if they're newer (not close to 7 years old), can you pay the debt? If so, contact the creditor and ask for a debt verification letter. If the debt is yours, ask for a payment plan and ask to have them remove the derogatory mark after.

-Give it time. While you can do major damage to your score in a short amount of time, it takes a lot longer to fix it.

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