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Rebuilding, but getting denied on CC apps, despite average scores and pre-qualification.

TU: 637
EF: 656

I'm 24-years-old. I have 8 student loans in my credit history that have all been paid off & closed.

I have 5 credit cards on my report. Two are closed and three are open.

Closed CC accounts: one is an AMEX Green Card. I got too behind on my payments of a ~$1900 debt but I paid them off earlier than my "payment plan" with Amex indicated in July 2016. The other closed card is a Citi-Shell card that my mother connected in my name to her account when I was in high school. She has since closed that account.

Open CC accounts: I have a Barclay MC connected to my mom's account, as an emergency use. However, on my report, it reads her debt on there as well. I don't use it monthly, but it reads $1820. I want to close this, since she receives the bills and supposedly pays them. But if she's behind, this falls on my credit report, even if I cut her a check.

Another open account is a DSNB Macy's card which I have never used in my life. The accound has been open since 1989. Legitimately, I have never seen this card but apparently (there's a trend here), my mother opened it in my name. I believe the limit is $4,500 but I have never made a single payment on this because the balance has been at zero since it was created for me.

Finally, my last open card, the Capital One Platinum card, which only has a $200 limit (I unfortunately misread the instructions about adding more money to up the limit before opening the account). I applied for this card in July 2016, as approved immediately, and shipped my card in a week.

Since October 2016, I have been trying to apply for another card, with a higher limit, but I keep getting denied. When I apply to appeal, creditors advise that I wait 6 months from October 2016, but I can't tell if this is an odd standard to advertise, as other peers of mine have not had a six-month waiting guide.

I want to close my Macys & Mastercard, but apparently this will only look worse. I would like to get my credit score up to 700 to up my approval odds for cards like Chase Freedom Unlimited or Amex BlueCash Everyday. The ultimate goal is to work up to a Chase Sapphire Preferred, as I travel internationally frequently.

Currently feeling a bit helpless in this arena. Any guidance on what I should be doing next is much appreciated. You can't get too far with only using 30% of a $200 limit on a CapitalOne secured card each month.

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Stop applying!

Applying for credit cards or you will back yourself into a corner with too many inquiries and will get nothing. You have two options, get a secured card like Discover Secure and drop about as much as you possibly can into that account for a higher utilization. If you can travel abroad frequently, then you have the cash to drop into a secure account to give yourself a higher limit to show on your credit report--you just have to decide which means more to you in your long-term goals. Get off of your mom's account if she's behind--that IS going to kill your score because it does show up late on your credit. The ONLY time you should ever go on someone else's account is if that person pays their bills on time, or it does you no good. The other thing you can do is put a freeze on your credit reports so your mom cannot open any other accounts in your name. 

When I started out rebuilding, I did Cap One, had it for three months, then applied for the other Cap account. Used it paid it off immediately--credit line was increased within 6 months. I also applied for the Discover IT Secured, used/paid, used/paid. There is no magic trick to getting great credit lines other then keeping utlization low, only applyinh for cards that you REALLY need, pay them off timely, get rid of any bad/negative info by disputing, keep inquiries to a minimum. Being prequalified for an OFFER does NOT mean you get the card, it is a marketing tactic used by the card issuers. If you have a bank account--try getting a card with them, US Navy is good, PenFed, Shell FCU, usually it is easier when you have an established relationship with them and credit unions ususally have a little more wiggle room on issuing cards. 

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