Can too many credit cards impact your scores?

I currently have about 22 credit cards, 13 of which I got over a twelve-month time span and I have not experienced any negative impact as of yet. Some people think that this is an exuberant amount of credit cards for a single person to own and I can see how some people might think that way.

As for myself, I apply for credit cards as a part of the research needed for my blog. It’s hard for me to give advice if I haven’t lived through the experience first hand. My technique for getting approved at such a high rate is due to the amount of time that I put into my research.

I own eight major credit cards and the remaining cards are for department stores and a single Shell gas card. Although one of my credit karma scores reached 701 once and for exactly a single day, the vast majority of my cards were approved with a poor to fair score between 600–650 which is far from elite.

Having said that, this has not negatively impacted my credit scores because I am not applying willy nilly all over the place. I have a strategic plan in place and map out exactly when and where I will apply in order to achieve the greatest chance for approval.

Even though my scores typically hover near the barely average range, I know that I can boost them all above 700 at any given time by doing absolutely nothing more than continue to pay my bills on time. The seeds have been planted…Now I can just sit back and watch them grow.

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VantageScore VS FICO Score

I won't pretend like I know all the differences between the VantageScore that you might find on Credit Karma or Credit Sesame, but what I can tell you is that most creditors are looking at your FICO score when they are making decisions about whether to grant credit or deny it.

As it turns out, I am in the perfect position to make a comparison between the two credit scores. For comparison's sake, as of today, my Transunion VantageScore as reported by Credit Karma is 607 and my Transunion FICO score is 669. Needless to say, that is a huge score difference.

I only found out my Transunion FICO score by accident because I received my Uber Visa in the mail recently with a 4K credit limit and on the accompanying paperwork, it showed that my Transunion FICO score was 669 at the time of approval.

That means that when my Credit Karma score was 650 then my true FICO score that lenders look to when making credit decisions was right around 712. Here I was beating myself up over my easily accessible Credit Karma score and it was nowhere near my true credit score!

So I say that, to say this: No matter what your Credit Karma score may look like today, just keep in mind that your FICO score, the one that lenders use to make credit decisions is most likely much higher. In my case, the difference was 62 points but admittedly, I do not know all the variables.

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Collections, Disputed, Removed!

For many years people have stated that accurate, derogatory information could not be removed from credit reports and I have stated for just as long that it can. I know this because I've done it for the better part of 20 years for myself, friends and family members.

I wanted to put this myth to rest once and for all and that's why I decided to release my upcoming "DIY Credit Repair Guide" so that I could show you step by step, exactly how I was able to remove negative entries from all three of the major credit bureau reports.

This procedure works for both paid and unpaid collections but it's a process and you cannot expect to have a 100 percent success rate the first go-round unless you are lucky enough to only have one or two derogatories showing on your credit reports.

This post is the final notification of the upcoming release of my DIY Credit Repair Guide entitled: The Blueprint. It is currently in the final revision stages and will be released sooner rather than later. This is your last chance to reserve your free copy as it will only be available via an advanced email subscription on the "Bill Collectors Hate Me" blog.

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The Barclays Uber Visa Card

Being the author of a credit and financial advice blog, I am always on the lookout for new credit card opportunities. As I've stated time and time again, credit inquiries are overrated. After doing a quick check of my recent credit approvals, I was shocked to learn that I'd been approved for eight credit cards within a 30-day time frame and a total of thirteen approvals inside of twelve months.

If inquiries were that detrimental to your credit score, I would never have been approved so many times within such a short period of time. Even with all my recent approvals, I know that I have plenty of room for several more, but I've decided that the twenty-plus that I currently own shall do. When applying for credit, I highly recommend that you apply for up to 5 credit cards simultaneously after the first approval...preferably over the weekend as this is when I've had the most success.

That brings me to the Uber Visa credit card that is financed by Barclays Bank. I was approved for this and the CareCredit credit card on the same day. Full disclosure, I was denied for three other cards on that day that I didn't really need, but I was just being greedy. Being approved so often after years upon years of denials can become very addicting and give you a false sense of power and invincibility, so be careful.

This card offers several rewards that can only be redeemed for Uber rides and Uber Eats, but the benefits don't stop there. You are also eligible for ID Theft Protection, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Roadside Dispatch and Cellphone Protection of $600 against damage or theft as long as you pay your cellphone bill via the card. I only paid $350 for a like-new, refurbished Samsung S9 Plus from the Sprint website, so I am more than covered.

There are several other benefits that are too many to name here but all in all, I find that the Barclays Uber Visa credit card is one of the best in the business... Especially if you are a frequent Uber rider or Uber Eats customer. This card also offers a generous starting credit limit. In my case, I was approved for $4,000, which at the time of this writing is the highest starting credit limit of all my major credit cards.

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The CareCredit Credit Card

Over a period of 2-3 months, I started to feel a very sharp pain while chewing food on the left side of my mouth in an area that was later identified as tooth #18. The pain came on fast and furious with no advanced warning. It wasn't until that point that I realized that I had a dominant chewing side. I was miserable.

The CareCredit card can be used for several medical procedures such as LASIK surgery. Everyone knows that CareCredit can be used for dental procedures like braces and dental deductibles. What people don't know is that it can also be used for cosmetic procedures such as breast implants as well as primary care visits, chiropractic care, and Walmart for health and wellness supplements and more.

CareCredit is accepted at veterinary clinics all over the country for your pets because sometimes you just don't have the available cash on hand for emergency procedures in a sudden and unpredictable time of need. The interest rate is a bit on the high side but when you need it, you need it.

I was instantly approved for $2500 but my research shows that CareCredit is financed by Synchrony Bank who is known for increasing credit card limits at a very high and acceptable rate. For instance...One user reported being granted a starting credit limit of $800 and was instantly increased to 5K upon request.

User reviews for this card are very positive and given what I've garnered from previous cardholders when I do ask for an increase, I will ask to be bumped from my current credit limit of $2500 to $5000 and I feel very confident about my chances of approval.

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Can a person get by without credit?

After ruining my credit the first few times, I tried to convince myself that I could live the rest of my life using nothing but cash and debit cards and it worked very well for me for quite a few years because I already had a car and a place to live.

It wasn't until it came time to find a new apartment that the reality of the lack of good credit would come into play. I was denied for an apartment for the very first time in my life but was later reconsidered after plopping down a huge security deposit that I was in no way prepared to pay for.

The embarrassment of struggling to rent an apartment was a real light bulb moment for me and immediately made me focus on getting my credit life back on track. I started paying all my bills on time and dedicated my focus to credit rebuilding.

In summary, you can live life without credit for a few years if your timing is just right, but mark my words...there will come a day when the chickens come home to roost and you’ll find yourself in need of credit and it won't be available to you.

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Should you pay your credit card in full each month?

If you have the means, it is ALWAYS better to pay the card balance off in full each month but only AFTER the statement cuts. In other words, don’t pay the bill until you receive the statement telling you exactly what you owe.

A zero balance will always look better than carrying one no matter what anyone tells you. If you must carry a balance, then always pay more than the minimum amount due. I like to shoot for at least double the minimum payment and then round up.

Next to paying your bills on time, available credit is the most important factor in increasing your credit score. The more you owe your creditors the lower your credit score. The less you owe your creditors the higher your credit score.

Most professionals recommend that you keep your utilization at 30% or below but Ideally, your credit utilization should be at 10% or less than the overall amount of combined credit that you have access to.

I have recently put this through a test and have found that my credit score was much higher at 10% utilization than it was at 30% and even higher at 5%. Having said that, everyone is not in the position to pay their bills down that low so I’d say that 30% is a good goal to shoot for and anything less will make your scores soar.

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How do people with poor credit, get credit?

Granting credit to people who have shown a history of mishandling credit may sound counterproductive, but the reality is that this is a new era in credit and finance. In the past, a person with poor credit would never be afforded all the second chance opportunities to own a credit card that is made available to them today.

Nowadays, there is a credit card for everyone no matter what your current credit background but this does not come without sacrifice. You will pay a processing fee, a monthly maintenance fee, a yearly fee or all of the above, but you do what you have to do to get back on track.

When my credit went south, I had every lower-tiered, fee laced credit card known to mankind while trying to rebuild my credit and somehow I managed to even screw that up and defaulted on all of my second chance credit cards too! It seemed that I hadn’t learned much at all about credit but in reality, I did.

Even though I defaulted on my second chance at rebuilding my credit, I learned how to rebuild credit without actually doing it, and in fact, made my credit situation worse than it was before I started. I realized that I only failed because I was not mentally prepared to see the process all the way through.

Fast forward to today and my score hovers in the low 700’s because I was able to apply what I learned from my past failures at credit rebuilding. It took me about four attempts but once I had finally had enough, I was able to maintain my focus and follow the rebuild all the way through. Having a plan is great…Seeing it through is the hard part.

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Can you build credit with PayPal?

For the sake of clarity, a traditional PayPal account will do nothing to improve your credit score because it will never report to the credit bureaus, however, a “PayPal Credit” account which is financed by Synchrony bank, will report to Experian but no others. I know this because it appears on my report every month as SYNCB/PPC. It is a current account and has never been late.

I realize that some people are confused because there was a point in time before Synchrony Bank took over that the PayPal Credit accounts did not report to any of the three major credit bureaus. This goes all the way back to when PayPal Credit used to be called Bill Me Later.

I should also note that Synchrony Bank will rarely if ever give automatic PayPal Credit limit increases unless you purchase something over your current limit. If the cost is not too much over your limit, Synchrony will typically raise your credit limit enough to cover your purchase and your credit limit will stay at the higher amount going forward.

For example…My starting PayPal Credit limit was only $250 so I made a purchase of about $275 and Synchrony Bank increased my limit to $500 to cover my purchase and then some. I was able to keep my new credit limit even after I paid off my balance completely. You can also request a credit limit increase from the PayPal Credit website but so far I have not had any luck going that route.

You might also like: PayPal Credit

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Sprint and Collections

Sprint uses an internal collection agency that will work with you to negotiate a settlement on a lesser amount. If their inhouse collection agency is unsuccessful in collecting the past-due payment, Sprint will pass the debt to an outside collection agency.

If the outside collection agency is unsuccessful in the collection of payment, then and only then will the collection agency report your past-due debt to the credit bureaus. This affords the debtor a very generous amount of time to come up with a payment.

You might also like: GC Services Limited Partnership and Sprint

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A Message From HELL!

Many years ago, this one particular collection agency emailed me with threats like I had never seen before. I mean, these were not your normal, run of the mill threats…These threats were way over the top and one day I just got fed up and responded back with the vilest, most vulgar, and nastiest words known to mankind.

I wanted them to know that I didn't appreciate them contacting me with empty threats of having me arrested and hauled off to jail when they knew they could do no such thing and where just using scare tactics in an attempt to get me to pay off a past due payday loan that was several months to a year in my rear-view.

Within the hour I received an email reply from a man claiming to be the owner of the company who stated that he is running a family-owned business and has young children who read his business emails from time to time and would appreciate it if I did not use such vile language as he felt that it was very offensive to his kids.

To which, I responded that as long as he continues to send me empty threats, I will continue to reply back with language that demonstrates my displeasure in him contacting me. I made it perfectly clear that we can continue this email back and forth, or he could stop contacting me and I would gladly reciprocate by not responding. I never heard from him or his company again.

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Should you consider a payday loan?

A person should only consider taking out a payday loan if they are in dire straits and have no other options. I’ve probably taken out well over 500 payday loans since they have first become available and I am not proud of this fact, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures.

Payday loans are easy to get into but a nightmare to get out of. Breaking the cycle is very difficult because the average person who gets a payday loan usually takes out two to three more loans, perpetuating the proverbial robbing Peter to pay Paul syndrome.

At my very lowest, I had over 10 payday loans at the same time. It took me so long to pay them off and reborrow that it would take me two days to complete them all. At this point there are only a few ways out and paying them off was not an option for me. I ultimately ended up burning them all by closing my checking account and opening up a new one at a different bank. Again, not my proudest moment.

Today, I am happy to say that I have put traditional payday loans behind me. Just the sheer thought of the way I felt when I was knee-deep in them is usually enough to scare me back to reality in the event that it ever crosses my mind to seek out another payday loan.

You might also like: The Payday Loan Shuffle!

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The Dave Cash Advance App

I am a long way removed from the traditional payday loan system but I do from time to time use a mobile app called Dave that allows you to take out small cash advances of either $25, $50, or $75 until your next payday.

One reason why the Dave app is different from a standard payday loan is that you can borrow money without paying a single dime in interest. You pay back exactly what you borrow and not a penny more. They do offer the ability to leave a tip to show your gratitude but it is not required.

Dave is very simple to use. Once you have initially set up the account and connected your bank, you can generally have your money in your bank account in one to two business days without having to pay the optional fee for fast delivery.

In order to qualify for a cash advance, you only need to be 11 days or less from your next payday. The Dave app also has a checking account that you can opt into that will give you access to up to a $100 advance but at the time of this writing, it is not yet available.

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