I started building my credit almost exactly three years ago. My first card was a $250 limit First Premier Bank Gold mastercard (which I have since closed). Today I have more than 20 credit cards and tradelines to my name from big prime lenders including: Citi, Chase, Discover, Bank of America, American Express, Barclays, PenFed among others. My total revolving credit limit today tops $70, 000... including $8, 000 in "hidden tradelines". That's a 28, 000% increase on my initial revolving credit limit in 3 years!
By the end of next year, I expect my revolving credit limit to be close to $100, 000 if not topping it (even if I don't app for anything else, I believe I could get there through CLIs alone on my existing cards).I have decided to garden for the next 6-12 months, but I may leave the garden in 2013 to app for a car loan for my first car as well as 1 or 2 business cards. I have frozen my reports from all three CRAs. This at least helps me control my itch to app.
My credit scores are generally in the 700-750 range from all three bureaus and my current utilization is under 10%. However with all the new accounts I've added over the years, my average age of accounts is only about 1 year. I also have a couple inqs that I want to age and fall off... hence my decision to garden.
What is a hidden tradeline? I've been on this forum for a few months now and never heard the term before.
Probably tradelines that don't report like Newegg, Bill Me Later, etc.
A hidden tradeline is a gem to those who have established credit. It is not suitable for people just building credit. It is basically a credit card or line of credit which does not report to your personal file at the big three credit bureaus. Therefore you can carry high balances on them without any effect to your personal credit. However, be advised that if you are late with a payment or derogatory in any way, the negative information will be reported to the CRAs and it will affect your credit. So as long as you pay your bills on time, a hidden TL is a great way to carry balances without worrying about it affecting your credit utilization. In other words, it is a great way to "hide debt".
Examples of hidden tradelines include almost all business credit cards with the exception of business cards from Discover and Capital One which reports to your personal credit report (based on what I hear). Also lines of credit from Bill Me Later and Newegg are said to be "hidden" as in they don't report to the credit bureaus. Hence you can carry balances on these tradelines without worrying about the balances showing up on your credit report.
Essentially, the only way a "hidden tradeline" affects your credit is the initial ding from the application inquiry or the reporting of negative information to the credit bureaus if your account becomes derogatory. So all in all it's a good tool to have in your credit portfolio once you have the maturity to handle it.
Great job -- congrats!!!