Great find and awesome thread!
Just when I thought I had my lineup all figured out with my USAA Limitless as my everyday swiper and utilities, you throw in a 5% Utilities spectacular find. And in all honesty, I actually wanted to find a dedicated card for JUST utilities/bills in case my security was compromised with my other cards. I didn't want the hassle of having to change all my "auto-saved" payment info with each utility company. Fortunately for me, my quarterly utilities run about $1520 and none of them charge a cc fee.
So I was approved for $10K, but I did ask for $20k.
However, online they were "unable to establish my identity and requirements" for the membership and savings/checking activation. The nice gentleman on the phone, who handles the credit card portion of the application, told me to just wait for a letter in 7-10 business days detailing the "issues about membership" and than I could proceed to just tackle them and fix it. He said it should be pretty easy to fix and once that is done, they will complete, process, and mail me my new Rewards CC.
They pulled Experian.
They denied me due to debt to income ratio, not sure what that means but whatever...
Debt to Income (DTI) ratio is exactly what it sounds like. They're looking at how much you make vs how much you owe to see if extending you more credit (and the possibility of more debt) makes sense to them. It's basically an indicator to them of your ability and likelihood to repay them, as well as whether it seems like you're in any financial distress. High DTI = potentially higher risk in lending.
The simplest formula would ask: How much are your monthly minimum credit obligations (including rent if you don't own) divided by your monthly income? Let's say that you make $4k/mo and your obligations are $2k. That means your DTI is 50%, which is on the high side. Now, if you made $8k/mo with those same obligations, your DTI drops to 25%, which is better. Secured debt (mortgage, car payment) vs unsecured debt (credit cards, student loans, etc.) also can be weighted differently depending on the lender. I had a CU recently complain that my "unsecured DTI ratio" (so excluding my car since I rent) was over their preferred max of 20%. I was able to explain why it seemed high, and they were good with it, but it did require actually speaking with the loan officer.
Even if they just said debt-to-income, they may also factor in available credit. If they lean on the more conservative side of lending, they may not like too much available credit in relation to your income. If you make $50k/yr and have $200k in available credit, that will spook some lenders. Essentially they're saying they're worried you have the ability to load yourself with so much debt that you wouldn't recover, and they don't want to be in that boat if it sinks. (Also called Pyramiding Debt)
There is a catch, besides the fact that you have to join a bicycling association for ~$20 to join the Credit Union...
Just want to thank digitek for this little snippet. Not being eligible for any conveniently located credit unions (but being an avid cyclist and a member of the local bicycling association), I checked its benefits and, lo and behold, credit union membership is one of them -- with a branch only 5 blocks from my office!
So it took a couple of days...
I am now a member with Vantage West and a new 5% utilities credit card.
And while I was at it, I applied and got into NFCU. Just checking for now. I figured if they came out with a credit card in the future that suited me, I might as well establish a relationship with them now!
Thanks again OP!
I just opened my account - checking and savings, but I didn't have to donate to a bicycle of $17.