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21 yr old college student needs advice on applying for additional credit card

New Member

21 yr old college student needs advice on applying for additional credit card

I am new to this forum and hope to get some insight and advice on which card I should apply for next and how often I should apply for additional cards. I am a 21 yr old college student, I have 10K in Students loans and will graduate from IU Bloomington in May.  I currently have one CC, it is a Discover IT card that I applied for last November (2016). I was given 1000 CL I received automatic CLI of 500 in May  And requested CLI  of 500 in Aug and 1000 in Nov.   I currently have a 3K credit limit.  I would like to get another card and I am not sure which card I should request Chase, AMEX or Sallie Mae. or is there another card that would be better for me.  I would like cash back rewards. My Discover scorecard says my FICO Score is 768 from Experian Credit Karma says my Transunion is 744 and Equifax is 757. I would like to get additional cards but not sure which card to apply for next or how often to apply.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you 

 

56 REPLIES
Established Contributor

Re: 21 yr old college student needs advice on applying for additional credit card

What's your normal spend look like or gonna look like once you graduate? Groceries, gas, dining, and so on. Will help a lot in steering you towards the right cards for you.

 

Also, if you have any family in the military I would go ahead and look into NFCU and USAA.

FICO 08 Scores (Oct-17): TU 810, EQ 813, EX 813

New Member

Re: 21 yr old college student needs advice on applying for additional credit card

Thank you for responding

I do not have any family in the military. My car is 10 yrs old and I plan on driving it until it dies or I get a company car. I plan on living at home for 1 year after graduation so that I can pay off my student loans.  I currently spend $150-200 a month on gas, $300 groceries $125 social.$100 cell phone. Auto and Health insurance will depend on employment benefits.

Established Contributor

Re: 21 yr old college student needs advice on applying for additional credit card

Well the good news is the Discover IT card will cover a lot of your spend for the 5% cashback for the next calendar year so there's that. Go to the Discover website to check it out and keep track of it so you can maximize your rewards.

 

As for cards that would fit your spend the AMEX BCE can cover the grocery and gas spend at 3%/2% respectively. The redemptions can be a pain though with only being able to get the rewards back in $25 increments and the rewards from the spend itself can take up to 2 billing statements to post which can suck at times. If that's a hassle you don't want to deal with and want something simpler you could just stick with a strict 1.5% back on all purchases like the Chase FU or Capital One Quicksilver. Both have easy redemptions and post relatively quickly. And when you're not using your Discover can be an easy use since you don't have to worry about category spending. Or perhaps getting more than one card would maybe be better.

 

I'm sure others will chime in on something I probably missed but that should get you started before you decide on what you want to do.

FICO 08 Scores (Oct-17): TU 810, EQ 813, EX 813

Established Member

Re: 21 yr old college student needs advice on applying for additional credit card

Back when I was in college a decade ago, my very first card was a student Citi Dividend Plat which I got through an on-campus promo but the first card I cold apped and was approved for was an AmEx CC about a year later so I've always been very fond of AmEx. I think AmEx would be a good choice and they should be open to students with thinner files. At the time of app I had an AU account from the parents and my Citi of one year on the CR and AmEx gave me ~$2k CL. They gave me an auto-CLI of a grand or so 2 months later because I almost maxed out my card buying a new computer citing the increased usage. The card has grown with me ever since and the limit now is $13k. 

 

You could also look into Capital One. QS might be a reach, but I think you may have a shot at it albeit with a low limit. I don't know much about Citi despite the fact that my first CC was from them. My impression is that they might have tightened up their underwriting standards since my college days. 

 

Valued Member

Re: 21 yr old college student needs advice on applying for additional credit card

I too am a college student. If I were in your position what I would do is apply for the Amex Blue Cash Preferred, and open a checking account with US Bank. Based on your spending, you will make more cashback (even after deducting the annual fee) with the preferred rather than the everyday. Also opening the checking account with US Bank will allow you to more easily get in the door with them. I would wait three months between opening a checking account with US Bank and applying for a credit card. For US Bank you should apply for the Cash Plus, which allows you to choose two different 5% categories (such as cell phones and fast food) and one 2%. Also as much as I wish Sallie Mae still existed, the card is long gone and has been replaced by the very mediocre commence card. Lastly, if you're curious of Amex approval odds, you can check your prequals with them.

Amex Prequal Site: https://www.americanexpress.com/us/credit-cards/check-for-offers/

US Bank Cash+ Categories: https://cashplus.usbank.com/categories/index?quarterId=44

Community Leader
Valued Contributor

Re: 21 yr old college student needs advice on applying for additional credit card

I would also suggest the American Express Blue Cash Preferred for your spend and for getting cash back rewards. They also have frequent 10% statement credit offers for cell phone bills.

The CreditKarma scores are Vantage scores not true FICO scores, but you can get a free monthly Experian FICO 08 score from Discover too at creditscorecard.com That is the score Amex will use (and give you if you open an account).

For best scoring (although your scores are likely fine right now) you should have 3 revolving credit cards, but there’s no rush. Best of luck and welcome to the forums!

$500k+ club. | FICO 08 [Oct 2017]: EQ 746 EX 738 TU 733 | World's worst gardener.
Valued Contributor

Re: 21 yr old college student needs advice on applying for additional credit card

You should be in great shape for AMEX, and you'll probably be able to grow your starting limit in fairly short order.

 

Ideally, you'd be grabbing a Visa of MasterCard simply because they're more widely accepted than Discover or AMEX. But if you think the advantages of a Discover/AMEX combo outweigh that at this point, go ahead and grab the AMEX.

 

I see no issue with you being approved for Captial One Quicksilver. Keep in mind that they'll pull all three bureaus. That may or may not be acceptable to you. After the initial three pulls, there'll be no more hard pulls for this card.

 

I see you as right on the border for Chase. They like a little bit of file thickness and age. Your student loans and your year-old Discover card may or may not cover you. They also don't like seeing a lot of recent inquiries or new accounts. You should be good that way.

Community Leader
Valued Contributor

Re: 21 yr old college student needs advice on applying for additional credit card

I didn't even consider the fact that there would be no Visa or MasterCard here.  Good point, @HeavenOhio!

 

I would certainly check the prequalifiers for Bank of America, Chase, and Citi.  The Double Cash from Citi would be a solid 2% back across the board. BoA Cash Rewards is 3% on gas and 2% on grocery/wholesale, which may or may not be a good match if you got the Amex BCP, but it can grow huge if you're into that sort of thing. Smiley Wink  The Chase Freedom has those great 5% categories like your Discover and they don't always overlap. I'm admittedly biased against CapOne, but if you were looking for a 1.5% back card, I'd suggest the Freedom Unlimited from Chase over the CapOne QuickSilver.

 

Honestly, with your score range you're likely (never guaranteed, but likely) to be approved for any card that you find fits your needs and spending.


$500k+ club. | FICO 08 [Oct 2017]: EQ 746 EX 738 TU 733 | World's worst gardener.
Valued Contributor

Re: 21 yr old college student needs advice on applying for additional credit card


K-in-Boston wrote:

Honestly, with your score range you're likely (never guaranteed, but likely) to be approved for any card that you find fits your needs and spending.


I generally concur. There'd be a handful of cards to eliminate at this point, and there'd be a couple of banks to be careful of.

 

Cards that should be bypassed at this time would be those with high minimum starting limits. Examples would be Chase Sapphire Reserve ($10,000), Chase Sapphire Preferred ($5,000), and Capital One Venture ($5,000).

 

Banks to be careful of would include Chase and Citi, simply because of their quirks. As mentioned, Chase likes a happy formula of experience without a bunch of new credit. Citi is sensitive to new credit, but is probably a bit easier on history,

 

As K-in-Boston says, check the pre-qualifiers. If you see a "solid" APR (e.g. 18%) or a narrow range (e.g. 15–18%), you're probably seeing a decent offer. It you're seeing a wide range (e.g. 12–26%), consider the pre-qual to simply be marketing. Pre-quals from Chase, Captial One, and AMEX tend to be particularly reliable.