Well, glad I can be of help. I just wanted everybody to understand that there are two possible paths that your CLI can go down process-wise, the "underwriting" path and the " performance review" path. One path will result in a hard hit, one a soft hit, so hopefully that will keep someone else from falling into the same trap I did by using the correct jargon with the CSR.
As for just closing the account and appllying for a new one everytime I want a CLI, I would say that that would be fine if you are in a position where you have so many inquiries that it doesnt matter anymore, but prior to this one going on there, I havent had an inquiry on any of the 3 CRA's for a year now, and I gaurantee you it's helped my score in a serious way. I've focused my credit building strategery on managing the credit I already have- 4 revolving accounts and one reserve line- as opposed to adding more accounts. Too many recent inquiries make lenders nervous, and as I mentioned, I want to get a home loan in late 2010- by which time I hope to have my scores in the 710 range.
Speaking of closing existing accounts and just applying for new ones, apparently that is what I am going to have to do with my Wells Fargo secured card. When I began my credit re-building process a year and a half ago, I put 2K down as colateral to secure a 2K limit. When they signed me up for that, they said that if I pay on time every month, don't go over my limit, keep my balances reasonable, don't be late or overlimit on any of my other open revolving accounts, and keep my FICO over 600, that after a year I would be eligible to graduate the card to unsecured status. Well, it's been a year and a half now, and I've met all those conditions and then some. Last week I finally had had enough of WF sitting on my card and not graduating it, and I spent hours being bounced around from dept. to dept. speaking to one supervisor after another until somebody finally just admitted that they arent graduating secured cards anymore- period. My options were A) Bend over, spread my cheeks, and let WF sit on my 2K cash colateral forever or B) close the account and apply for an unsecured card. That's it. So basically these a$$holes have been stringing me along for a year and a half now in the hopes that if I do my part that they would reciprocate after a year of my walking the straight and narrow path. Now that I know that my card will NEVER graduate to unsecured, I plan to wait until my FICOs are all over 700 , go ahead and apply for the unsecured card, and then close the secured account.
The problem with that is that opening new accounts lowers your average account age, which is 15% of your score. ( Not to mention the inquiry hard-hit )So I am not pleased.
Honestly, I am getting real tired of banks and credit card companies just doing whatever they want whenever they feel like it. They change their side of the bargain whenever they bloody well want to, at the same time they hold us to every last word and clause of the fine print and punish consumers with draconian penalties if we go over our limits by even one cent.
My plan is that when I close my secured card with WF, I'm taking that 2K and putting it in a credit union- Desert Schools here in Phoenix, just because I don't want WF to have the benefit of my money in their crap lousy bank.
I am about 3 months from paying all my revolving credit down to zip, and when I do, the credit card companies will never earn another dime off of me. I'll just leave my accounts open and barely-used to keep building my FICO's. I hope to be done playing the revolving credit game real soon. It hasnt been an enjoyable experience for me. ( Time for us all in this country to start living within our means - both as individuals and as a nation in my opinion...)
I hope to get a home loan through Desert Schools Credit Union too, because I am real tired of being lied to and mistreated by the big banks.