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JerseyAndy

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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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Top Contributor
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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 (www.freecreditreport.com 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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