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Lack of credit history: how can I improve my score quickly?
I have had a secured credit card for the past six months. I only have one credit card account and it's my first ever. It will be upgraded to an unsecured card in December. With such little credit history, what is my best option to improve my score quickly? It is my understanding that having multiple credit cards helps your score, but a hard inquiry is required to get one, right?

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You need to get a high limit credit card, I have access to one but don't know how to get it to you without an email address

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Getting a credit score in the upper 700's and 800's takes YEARS.  So without knowing where you are starting, and even if we did, we can only estimate, also remember CK score is only one of hundreds that are used, and is good for a base line only.  A good score takes time, it only takes days to destroy it.

You have taken the right steps, and I would get the unsecured BEFORE you try for another credit card.  Get the one bird in hand, wait for a few months then maybe apply for a store credit card where you shop the most (home depot, Khols, ect.) Slowly add a card at a time, but no more than one or so a year.  Be sure to pay them all off the first month there is a charge, at minimum keep them under 10% untilazation.  Learn when they report to credit reporting agencies so you can be sure that you are allways showing a very low balance.

If you have a year and can afford a little interest, talk to your bank for a secured personal loan.  They loan you 1k, put it into a CD, you make payments for a year and then collect the CD after the loan is paid off.  You pay more interest than you earn on the CD.  This however not only shows another year of good payments, but it also shows diversification.

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Without knowing your exact situation it's almost impossible to tell any exact solutions, I jumped my score up 130 points over the last 6 months.   The bulk of the work I did was to get rid of most of my collections - once that was done I was able to get the secure card from Capital One.  Again another small jump, but I also applied for the Credit One - Platinum card which is unsecured and again provided a quick boost.   Continued working, and over the last 2 weeks my TU score jumped up 60 points from a few things being removed and the increased value of having the credit cards.    A hard inquiry is generally going to happen to get a credit card, but some places can do a "pre-approval" which will do the same soft-pull that CK does - which doesn't affect your credit too much.   When in doubt, just assume that any application for credit will be a hard pull and will temporarily hurt your credit score and you'll be in a better position to deal with it.   It's not necessarily having multiple cards ( although that doesn't hurt ), it's the overall credit limit between all your cards and your utilization that has the biggest effect.   One thought, and one I'm trying in the morning - is to go to my bank and discust uss with them the opportunity for a 500-1000 dollar signature loan.   That'll have a fairly decent effect on credit as well, as you're being "responsible" with multiple types of credit instead of jcards.

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