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Registered: ‎03-31-2013
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Best way to build credit with only NPSL card

I moved to the US from Canada in October 2012, and even though I had over 3 years of excellent credit in Canada (829 FICO on latest report a week before I left -- the Canadian scores range from 300 to 900), that counted for nothing here, and BoA was the only one willing to consider my Canadian history.

 

Based upon my Canadian history, they gave me a Visa Signature card with $5000 credit limit on it. I've been using the card very diligently since day 1, making sure to never allow the statement balance exceed 10% of the CL at any point during the billing cycle, and always paying in full every month (to be exact I make weekly payments to keep the balance low). You can imagine my shock when I found out my FICO score was 680 across all 3 CRAs!!

 

After doing some research, it seems the problem is my Visa Signature is a "NPSL" card, or at least BoA reports it as such. So my high balance becomes my CL since my real CL is not reported, and that drives my utilization ratio up to almost 100%. Also doesn't help I only have this one card (which BoA reports as "revolving" instead of "open"), and barely have 5 months of US credit history.

 

Now that I know, I've been running my card as high as I can for this month, and plan on paying in full before the closing date in order to zero the statement balance. This will become really annoying in the long term though, especially since I have to plan carefully to make sure I don't have any last minute transactions appear on my statement and ruin the ratio for the month. (will this even work, or am I being delusional?)

 

So what's the best thing to do at this point? Should I wait until my score improves, then apply for a non-NPSL card, or at least one from a bank that will report the actual CL (Chase, Citi), and then close the BoA card? Or should I ask BoA to give me a MasterCard instead of Visa since people seem to say they report the actual CL instead of the high balance? Thank you so much for reading this.

Valued Contributor
Posts: 1,673
Registered: ‎11-11-2012
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Re: Best way to build credit with only NPSL card

BofA should be able to change your card to a Visa Plat, which will report.  Several people here have done that.  I think often it is without too much loss of benefits, but even if you lose points etc, it's probably worth it so you can get your scores up again.

 

I am surprised though that Bank of America was willing to consider non-US history, that is a big bonus.

Regular Contributor
Posts: 223
Registered: ‎12-08-2012
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Re: Best way to build credit with only NPSL card

[ Edited ]

arkane wrote:

I moved to the US from Canada in October 2012, and even though I had over 3 years of excellent credit in Canada (829 FICO on latest report a week before I left -- the Canadian scores range from 300 to 900), that counted for nothing here, and BoA was the only one willing to consider my Canadian history.

 

Based upon my Canadian history, they gave me a Visa Signature card with $5000 credit limit on it. I've been using the card very diligently since day 1, making sure to never allow the statement balance exceed 10% of the CL at any point during the billing cycle, and always paying in full every month (to be exact I make weekly payments to keep the balance low). You can imagine my shock when I found out my FICO score was 680 across all 3 CRAs!!

 

After doing some research, it seems the problem is my Visa Signature is a "NPSL" card, or at least BoA reports it as such. So my high balance becomes my CL since my real CL is not reported, and that drives my utilization ratio up to almost 100%. Also doesn't help I only have this one card (which BoA reports as "revolving" instead of "open"), and barely have 5 months of US credit history.

 

Now that I know, I've been running my card as high as I can for this month, and plan on paying in full before the closing date in order to zero the statement balance. This will become really annoying in the long term though, especially since I have to plan carefully to make sure I don't have any last minute transactions appear on my statement and ruin the ratio for the month. (will this even work, or am I being delusional?)

 

So what's the best thing to do at this point? Should I wait until my score improves, then apply for a non-NPSL card, or at least one from a bank that will report the actual CL (Chase, Citi), and then close the BoA card? Or should I ask BoA to give me a MasterCard instead of Visa since people seem to say they report the actual CL instead of the high balance? Thank you so much for reading this.


I believe that the high balance is considering the life of the account? Someone correct if I'm wrong, but I don't think you will keep trying to get your balance super high every month. One month should do.

 

If you are not happy with that feature though, you could also ask BofA to PC to a Platinum Plus account (instead of a Visa Signature) or a Mastercard, as you suggested.

 

I don't know if any prime lenders will approve you for a card at this point, given your relatively thin file in the US. If I were you, I'd use the BofA responsibly for another 6 months (adding up to a year in history) and then apply around to see what happens. If everything else is in order (income, baddies, etc.), I'd be surprised if you weren't approved for, say, a Chase Freedom or better.

 

EDIT: Yeah, that is pretty cool that they honored your Canadian credit history. I hadn't heard of banks considering history from foreign countries before.

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Registered: ‎09-16-2011
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Re: Best way to build credit with only NPSL card

[ Edited ]

Did you happen to have a Canadian amex? if so maybe you have a shot at a US amex?

Fyi... even if you don't have a Canadian amex; you can inquirer with amex to see if you can get one; and then PC it... or if they can use your Canadian report. otherwise you may be able to try a credit union if you bring in a copy of your Canadian report they may be willing to work with you.

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Posts: 1,408
Registered: ‎07-12-2011
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Re: Best way to build credit with only NPSL card

[ Edited ]
Hello Arkane! Welcome to the forums!
First off- congrats on such a high CL being so new to US credit. As a NPSL card- I'd let it report a high balance one month then go back to PIF each month if utility is the issue with your report. If you aren't apping anything in the next month- run up the balance with all your normal spending to build up a reported CL on the BOA. Another issue is your AAoA is undoubtably low and this is I'm sure a big hit to your FICO. Give yourself some time and manage your cards well- you'll see the FICO grow pretty quickly with no baddies. I recommend apping 2 more cards that you really want and will help you earn some rewards to even out your profile and help with the utility issue after you've let the BOA report for at least 6 more months. JMHO. Best of luck to you and your US credit journey.

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Registered: ‎03-31-2013
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Re: Best way to build credit with only NPSL card

Wow thanks for the fast responses. Yeah it was pretty nice of BoA to consider my Canadian history, apparently it's a new thing they just started in 2012 and I'm thankful my personal banker had experience with Canadian clients so she knew.

 

So the high balance is over the lifetime of the acccount huh, that's reassuring. Also I might be mistaken, but isn't 0% utilization actually not ideal? I was thinking of leaving maybe $10 on the card every month so it appears that the card is active.

 

And yeah, I'll definitely wait at least another 6 months to build more up history and improve my score before I apply for more credit. But should I still keep the BoA card? I dislike closing accounts, but more importantly I don't want to lose a year of history, especially since I plan on taking out an auto loan next year (I know one year isn't much in the long run, but in the short term it really matters).

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Posts: 27,327
Registered: ‎02-07-2013
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Re: Best way to build credit with only NPSL card

1-9% monthly is good and as long as there's no AF involved IMO always keep it open. 6 months of history will put you in a great shape for more cards. Good luck

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Re: Best way to build credit with only NPSL card

[ Edited ]

Edit: Didn't realize I didn't quote the message properly (I can't see a quote message button anywhere?)

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Registered: ‎01-14-2009
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Re: Best way to build credit with only NPSL card


arkane wrote:

Edit: Didn't realize I didn't quote the message properly (I can't see a quote message button anywhere?)


After you click on the "reply" button, the "quote" button is right next to the "spell check" button in the next screen.

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