I need some decision help. I got a "Pre-Qualified" letter in the mail yesterday from JC Penny's and I'm debating on whether I should get it or not? The weird thing is that I opted-out last month? Could be residual pulls from before the opt-out?
So far I have a Chase (old wamu) card with $1000 limit, a BoA secured card for $300 that should become unsecured next month, a Macy's card with $700 limit and a Victoria's Secret card with a $350 limit. I do shop at Penny's maybe 6-7 times a year...so it would get used. But does anyone know who they pull from? I do have 5 hard pulls on Experian (all last year), 1 on Equifax (from last year) and none on TransUnion. Also since I am opted-out, if I do accept, will they have a problem with the hard pull to finalize the application?
Opting out does not limit a creditors ability to pull your credit when you apply for credit. It just "opts" out of promotional offers being sent to you. You have to "lock" your credit files in order to restrict access.
You all ready have two major cards (Chase & BofA) and two store cards, which at your point I believe is adequate. You don't need a JC Penney card to shop at JC Penney. You didn't mention what your balances and utilization is.
The question you must ask: Why apply for this card? What are the benefits? How does it help me with my long term credit and financial goals?
Increasing the number of inquiries and lowering your Average Age of Accounts for Penney's card is a bad idea, in my opinion. Let the accounts age. Get the BofA unsecure. Work on increasing those CL over time. Keep your payments timely and pay much more than minimums (hopefully PIF except small balance on 1 card).
Contact Chase in the next 6 months and see about a Product change. Go for a lower APR and waived annual fee if you have AF. This will help your score and credit.
Then look at real credit you will need, like an auto loan and begin SAVING money for a down payment toward whatever your next planned major purchase will be.
When you decide to make a new app, make it with a good Credit Union, who will serve many needs, like low rate auto and home loans and great credit cards.
Don't get in such a hurry. Go for long term benefits, not quick easy credit.
The JCP card is a good card and is one of the best store cards out there considering the increases they grant. The card is backed by GEMB and they will most likely pull Equifax. Looking at the other cards you have, you don't need this card. I would save the inquiry and use it to apply for a credit card offered by your CU.
Txjohn, you're right about the credit freeze idea. When you opt-out of pre-approvals, that stops lenders from sending you pre-approved offers. If you apply for any credit product, they still would be able to pull your credit report(s). If you don't want anyone pulling your credit report(s), then I would suggest you freeze them. You can google Experian Credit Freeze, Equifax Credit Freeze, and/or Transunion Credit Freeze and it would direct you to the website where you can get started. They usually charge about $20 to freeze your credit report(s) unless you're an indentity theft victim. Fees vary by state so I would do some research.
I personally deeply regret having JCPenney store card ( as well as my 2 other GEMB cards). My CL has been the same for about 1.5 years on JCP and got CLI's on others but those CLI's are rediculously low.
As for benefits, JCP occasionally sends me $10 off cuopons. An APR is very high. But as always YMMV.