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Hi all,

Found this forum through a google search, and you all seem like knowledgeable people so I was wondering if you could help me wrap my head around the foreign concept to me that is credit and credit scores.

Background: I applied for and was approve a Discover student card in early 2011 with a limit of $2,000 (which has since been increased to $2,750 by them). I've paid every month in full on time, however I've definitely gone above the recommended 30% utilization (in my mind, as long as I always paid in full, and on time (and I know I always will) why does it matter that I use most of my credit? Obviously I'm wrong so says the banking overlords...). I also have an AMEX gold card through my parent's account which shows up on my Credit report as having never missed a payment dating back to early 2003. The past two years I've checked my free annual credit reports (I check in December) and they all show no problems. I signed up for the FICO trial and my FICO score was 738.

I applied for a Chase Freedom card (I didn't realize it was considered a "platinum" card, I was just looking for a good MasterCard to complement my Discover card) and was rejected. My Experian score came back as 649 which I was surprised by considering my much higher FICO score. The experian report shows no bad marks. The rejection letter from Chase cited these as the reason for the decline:
- Total available credit on card accounts is too low (My discover card has the aforementioned limit. My AMEX card actually has no limit)
- Insufficient credit information
- Too few satisfactory accounts opened greater than 5 months

I noticed the Experian report only lists my AMEX card in the report (although the report from last December lists both cards).

I know credit scores are as big mystery box and are kept that way on purpose, but I'm just hoping someone might read over this and be able to provide some insight as to why Experian thinks I'm "sub-prime".

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I learned this from Chase by talking to the reconsideration agent at length. I can attest to both "facts" so much as was... (more)

NoMeGustaChase (Mar. 21, 2013 @ 8:18p) |

If the Chase person says he will pull extra reports on you, he probably will. But this only applies to your specific cas... (more)

HiLine (Mar. 21, 2013 @ 8:26p) |

you're like 23 but have the credit profile of a 20 yr. old. so apply for "kid"/"quasi-kid" cards, which are super easy ... (more)

duckyhood (Mar. 22, 2013 @ 3:02a) |

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Not being a guru in any sense of the word, I would hazard a guess that since you applied for a 'student' card, your length of credit history (or lack thereof) might be having an impact.

Your theories on credit utilization are probably worthy of its own thread, so I won't delve into that subject.

What I would do, though, is sign up for a free account with www.creditkarma.com , which will give you some insights on what factors are pros and cons for your own credit history. Avoid the flashy ads for 'card recommendations', and pay attention to the details under credit score.

Good luck...

Thanks. CreditKarma called me a "thin file" and doesn't show me anything. I'd think having 2 credit cards attached to me for 2 years would be enough. It recommends getting a secured credit card and lists all these cards which have WAY higher APR rates than my current cards. I guess I'm just confused. I thought I've been building credit these past years but these reports recently make it seem like I've got zero history.

Chase Freedom shouldn't be considered a "Platinum Card" are you sure you didn't apply for one of Chase's Preferred cards?

When was the last time you had your credit limit increased on Discover? I believe you can do it online every 6 months without a hard inquiry.

I would attempt to raise your Discover limit as that should be the easiest if you are a good card holder with them.

Perhaps try to apply for an AMEX card since you have a history on your parents account.

Are you working or just a student? If no job, it may be more difficult. If you have an income - you can call Chase's reconsideration line (number should be on the denial) and ask them to reconsider. They will ask you some questions, then let you know.

You might also try opening up a card with an institution you already have a relationship with. Have a Citi bank account with a couple thousand dollars in it? Try to open a Citi credit card then.

Your 738 score is not bad considering you have not much of a credit history.

If you have any big purchases coming up (car, furniture, appliance, etc). that you were going to pay with cash (or your Discover) see if you can finance it instead - only do this if you get 0% for the first 6 months or more. Then make your payments every month and be sure to pay it off in full before the finance charge kicks in. This is one way to build your credit with another lender.

NoMeGustaChase said:   Thanks. CreditKarma called me a "thin file" and doesn't show me anything. I'd think having 2 credit cards attached to me for 2 years would be enough. It recommends getting a secured credit card and lists all these cards which have WAY higher APR rates than my current cards. I guess I'm just confused. I thought I've been building credit these past years but these reports recently make it seem like I've got zero history.

Don't trust Credit Karma. It is a good starting point - but their money is in referrals to cards. You likely do have a thin file since you only have 1-2 accounts, but the scores on CK and their recommendation are off a little.

I don't think you need to look to a secured card - you should be able to get a card from someone using some of the advice above.

I am not an expert. However:

There are three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Each keeps their own database and provides different FICO scores. Typically, these three should be roughly the same, but that's not always the case (such as your Experian of 649, vs the 738 you got through the trial). Companies that are pulling your score for credit-granting purposes can pull (and use) any or all of the three. For example, most mortgage companies will pull all three and use the middle score for credit evaluation. It looks like Chase pulled your Experian, which may be the lowest of your three scores.

For cards that have no limit, credit companies will typically have a record of the highest balance you've had on them. If you had a balance of 3233 on your AMEX at one point, that might be the "limit" that is reported - so if you currently have a balance of 100 on it, your utilization on that card would be 3%. However, if the highest you've ever charged that card to is 100, and you have a balance of 100, then your utilization is 100%.

Regarding length of credit history, two years is relatively low (although that 2003 should be showing up as 10 years, so I dunno what's going on there).

May want to check out creditboards.com. They tend to be pretty knowledgeable in this area.

Also, as mentioned by BenH, credit approval isn't just contingent on credit score, but also on income. So if you have a really good credit score, but no income, you are less likely to be approved for XXX credit.

BenH said:   Chase Freedom shouldn't be considered a "Platinum Card" are you sure you didn't apply for one of Chase'e Preferred cards?

When was the last time you had your credit limit increased on Discover? I believe you can do it online every 6 months without a hard inquiry.

I would attempt to raise your Discover limit as that should be the easiest if you are a good card holder with them.

Perhaps try to apply for an AMEX card since you have a history on your parents account.

Are you working or just a student? If no job, it may be more difficult. If you have an income - you can call Chase's reconsideration line (number should be on the denial) and ask them to reconsider. They will ask you some questions, then let you know.

You might also try opening up a card with an institution you already have a relationship with. Have a Citi bank account with a couple thousand dollars in it? Try to open a Citi credit card then.

Your 738 score is not bad considering you have not much of a credit history.

If you have any big purchases coming up (car, furniture, appliance, etc). that you were going to pay with cash (or your Discover) see if you can finance it instead - only do this if you get 0% for the first 6 months or more. Then make your payments every month and be sure to pay it off in full before the finance charge kicks in. This is one way to build your credit with another lender.


I called Chase's general number (they don't have a reconsideration line on the denial) and said I was confused as I was applying for their Chase Freedom card and the denial said it was a Platinum Mastercard. The woman confirmed that IS the Chase Freedom card, that it is only a Platinum card, which wasn't clear at all in the application process.

I graduated last year, now I make $43k+ with no debt, mortgage, or rent (still living at home...) so I think I'd pass there for at least a low introductory limit.

aznshadoboy77 said:   I am not an expert. However:

There are three credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Each keeps their own database and provides different FICO scores. Typically, these three should be roughly the same, but that's not always the case (such as your Experian of 649, vs the 738 you got through the trial). Companies that are pulling your score for credit-granting purposes can pull (and use) any or all of the three. For example, most mortgage companies will pull all three and use the middle score for credit evaluation. It looks like Chase pulled your Experian, which may be the lowest of your three scores.

For cards that have no limit, credit companies will typically have a record of the highest balance you've had on them. If you had a balance of 3233 on your AMEX at one point, that might be the "limit" that is reported - so if you currently have a balance of 100 on it, your utilization on that card would be 3%. However, if the highest you've ever charged that card to is 100, and you have a balance of 100, then your utilization is 100%.

Regarding length of credit history, two years is relatively low (although that 2003 should be showing up as 10 years, so I dunno what's going on there).

May want to check out creditboards.com. They tend to be pretty knowledgeable in this area.


All very good info, thank you! I'm just learning about how charge cards work. Looking at the report it seems the high balance was about $6300 and the most recent balance was about $600 (so less than 10% utilization). My Discover card, which for some reason wasn't included on the Experian report, has a limit of $2,750 which was increased in January, and carried a balance of about $530 or about 20% utilization (overall about 12% utilization).

I know all we can do is guess, but looking it over, I should have had:
- 10 year credit history (AVG. 6.5 years)
- 2 lines of credit (which is a potential issue)
- 12% overall utilization
- approx $9100 total available credit

Again, I just find it a bit surprising that that would put me in the "sub-prime" category. I guess I was just surprised by it. Discover gave me an initial credit line of $2k when I said I only made about $5k while back in college, so I was expecting an easy approval for around the same amount this time around considering I now have 2 more years of good credit and make more in 2 months than I did in a whole year back then.

Can you see the Experian report? Or do you just get a list of "these are the reasons why you're not approved"?

Platinum is actually the lowest card now.

Those were the reasons they listed on their denial. I can see the actual report as well (anyone can whenever they get denied within 60 days by law). My only concern with it is that it's missing my Discover information. I called Discover, they said they do send the info to Experian so I don't know why it wasn't in the report (it was in the report from December 2012 and 2011).

I'll have to wait for their business hours tomorrow to sort that out with them.

I wonder if I could get Chase to reconsider on the grounds that the report was missing credit information and if (as Chase seems to be known for doing based on internet posts) they'd run a new report which could potentially hurt my credit further.

Chase reconsideration line:
888-245-0625

Call them and ask - they can also clarify why they are calling the Freedom a Platinum card. I have the Freedom card and never say any verbiage to that effect...but it doesn't really matter.

With 43K income, no debt, etc.. you should be fine. Yes your credit file is a little sparse, but you should be able to obtain these cards.

If you really want the platinum, you can go and open a bank account with Chase and then try again (if the reconsideration line doesn't do it for you).

Otherwise, try for a few other cards to build up your credit lines and retry with Chase in 6 months.

My sole rejected credit application was a Chase Amazon card (applied as what would have been my 2nd or 3rd card at the time, and only the Amazon card because it was before the much better MTVu card came out). I instead obtained 2-3 other cards with 250-350 bonus each within the next 6 months (this was around 2007), and then applied for a different chase card shortly after. Somehow they liked all the additional inquiries and recently opened credit more than the thin file, even though those new accounts were all under 6 months old....

I could not/do not do AORs (you can't do AORs depending on what area you want to work in, when they check your credit reports to see if you're a risk or have been financially responsible I would imagine that AORs could be seen negatively), so I only added 2-3 cards a year and closed down some as well in the past couple years.

CreditSesame.com is the "CreditKarma" of Experian. It's got a lot of good tools to look at credit. It's not going to fix anything, but it might "teach" you more about why it is the way it is.

If your Discover card isn't showing on EXP, and your AMEX card is showing as authorized user, then your file isn't thin, it's empty.
I put my niece on an AMEX blue card with a 5 digit credit limit and it reported as an AU card, gave the open date as the date the AU card was issued instead of the date I opened the account, and doesn't seem to help her one bit with getting cards in her name.

Several years ago an AMEX AU would report as if they had been the actual cardholder since the date the account opened.

btw, welcome to the forum. You are still young, so be patient and learn as much as you can by reading this forum regularly. Another piece of advise not yet mentioned (I think): pay all your CC balances in full by the due date. Paying interest does not make your credit look any better.

What I've found has helped my score (at least according to CK) is paying my entire balance the day my statement closes. I have a Citi card, and it gives me a statement closing date - I simply log on, pay whatever my balance is at that time.

That night, some more transactions post and my statement closes. When I get the bill notification the next day, it often has a few transactions that were in the "Pending" stage the day before, and have since posted. This balance is what gets reported to the credit bureaus. Since I have learned of this, but utilization is often below 10% and is usually in the 0%-1% range.

I'm not sure when Discover reports their balances to the bureaus, but do some investigating (I checked my score every day on CK for a month, just to see when my balance updated) and you can figure it out.

thanks guys for the help.

I did some more digging. My discover account had some fraudulent activity at the beginning of this month. despite the assurance from the customer service representative I spoke to at the time, turns out they removed my account from the reports at that time! even when I spoke to a rep last night she was confused why it wasn't on the report. I'm really upset with them because they had told me it wouldn't effect my credit report. had I known they did that I wouldn't have applied for a newline of credit until after the report was updated.

Rizon I like that advice. My account actually closes today so I scheduled to pay my entire current balance today. My reported balance then should be either $0 or the ~$60 in pending transactions if any of those post today.

I guess I'll wait a few days, check my report to see when discover updates it, and then try and get chase to reconsider, although that'll probably mean another hard inquiry. the woman I spoke with at Experian told me these things usually take 30-90 days to update. I'll be livid if that's the case. All the more reason to want a chase MasterCard and get away from Discover...

edit: I signed up for experian's credit tracker for the discounted $5 first month rate. they give me a " Plus" score of 736. why would there be an 87 point difference between my "user friendly plus score" and my application score?

A very basic read which will answer some of your questions.

http://creditcardforum.com/blog/experian-plus-score-vs-fico-scor...

Thanks for the link. I'm still a bit unclear though. That page discusses the difference between the Experian PLUS score and the FICO score. According to FICO's own website using their paid credit score tool ( cost me $15 for January) my FICO score is 738, which is right around the Experian PLUS score of 736. The outlier to these was my score from Experian reported to Chase using the " application model" of 649 which appears to be the only score that actually matters.

Some suggestions
1. Ask your 2K limit card if they will increase your limit this will both decrease your utilization and increase your credit limits. Just becuase the limit is there does not mean you need to use it
2. 2 years is not long particularly as credit cards are only one thing you do not have anything else in your name in terms of bills as live at home student so they do not have records of you paying off other things on time.
3. There are 3 FICO scores:Experian, Transunion,Equifax. Only you will know which of the three you got from the myfico site as you are the one who got it most likely based on their site I would say equifax since that is what you get with the trial.
4. Each of the three has a different measurements. It is worthwhile to pull your free credit report with each once a year spread out every 4 months. I pull in feb,june,oct rotating. You can get what is on your report but not the score for free. If anything is wrong dispute.
5. Credit score will grow as you get history, pay bills , ect
6. If you have any negative marks it is often possible to get the negatives removed if you are paying on time.
7. As a new graduate it is possible that your student loan debt is just now hitting your credit reports and thus dragging you down

Thanks for the suggestions lindylady.

I found it to be ironic that today I received a solicitation from CitiBank to apply for their "Diamond Preferred" card. I'm waiting until my report shows the discover account correctly reporting before I make any moves, but now I'm wondering if I should ask Chase to reconsider (which would surely add a second hard inquiry and may still be denied) or choose a different card like this Citi MasterCard. I'll do plenty of research in the meantime.

Also, I sent Discover an email complaining about how I was told that it wasn't going to affect my credit report when it in fact did and how I was frustrated (with their customer service) and all I got back was a simple 1 liner saying basically "what was reported to the bureaus was correct" and directing further inquiry to a mailbox (seriously, why do companies still require correspondence in writing through the mail? It's 2013, get with the times...email is just as legally binding.)

You can get a free Experian-based FAKO Credit Score & Report from Quizzle. The free Quizzle "plan" entitles you to a fresh score & report every 6 months, although they have other plans (you can purchase) to pull your info more frequently.

Once you think the Discover situation has been cleared up, grab your Quizzle score & report to verify that your Discover card shows up on there. Once it does, that should mean your Discover card is once again reporting to Experian.

FYI, the credit score Quizzle gives me is considerably lower than the FAKO scores I get from other Experian FAKO score sites (including ones run by Experian itself). Maybe Quizzle's scoring algorith more closely resembles what Chase uses.

So I learned some more important pieces of information today. When you call to have the "reconsider" they pull the other credit reports from the other agencies. So if, as in this case, the original report pulled Experian's number, the reconsideration will pull TransUnion and Equifax.

Another important piece of information I was lacking: While I may be able to pull a report today, and see that it has been updated to reflect my accounts, the credit bureau only reports to creditors monthly (and possibly as infrequently as every 90 days). Because of this, while I can now see my proper credit score (my Experian PLUS score rose from a 736 to a 778) creditors still see the old information, in my case, a report showing zero credit history.

In my case, I'm stuck in an aggravating limbo. While I should have a credit rating high enough to secure a new line of credit, I cannot attempt to apply for that credit until the credit bureaus update their reports to creditors which they do at most every 30 days and at some undefined day that I don't know about. Even if I pay them money to show me my credit report and I see that it's updated, it does not mean that they've updated the creditors. At best, I have to sit on my hands until Mid-April and at worst it could take through May. All because Discover removed my account from the report despite assuring me on the phone, at the time of the fraud incident, that they wouldn't do such a thing.

Talk about the broken financial system. Imagine if I really needed this line of credit. Who would finance me despite my assurances that I make a "very low risk" as reported to me by the same damn credit bureaus that are still telling them that lending to me would be sub-prime! My head is going to explode if I keep thinking about this any longer.

Where did you "learn" this information?


NoMeGustaChase said:   So I learned some more important pieces of information today. When you call to have the "reconsider" they pull the other credit reports from the other agencies. So if, as in this case, the original report pulled Experian's number, the reconsideration will pull TransUnion and Equifax.

Fortunately, what you learned is wrong in most cases. It is only when your application is borderline that the credit analysts will pull extra reports.

NoMeGustaChase said:   
Another important piece of information I was lacking: While I may be able to pull a report today, and see that it has been updated to reflect my accounts, the credit bureau only reports to creditors monthly (and possibly as infrequently as every 90 days). Because of this, while I can now see my proper credit score (my Experian PLUS score rose from a 736 to a 778) creditors still see the old information, in my case, a report showing zero credit history.


Your last sentence is also wrong. The reports that creditors pull are the most up to date at that point. You only see what creditors report to the CRA's, and so do the creditors reviewing your application.

I learned this from Chase by talking to the reconsideration agent at length. I can attest to both "facts" so much as was reported to me by the Chase agent.

NoMeGustaChase said:   I learned this from Chase by talking to the reconsideration agent at length. I can attest to both "facts" so much as was reported to me by the Chase agent.

If the Chase person says he will pull extra reports on you, he probably will. But this only applies to your specific case.

NoMeGustaChase said:   Thanks. CreditKarma called me a "thin file" and doesn't show me anything. I'd think having 2 credit cards attached to me for 2 years would be enough. It recommends getting a secured credit card and lists all these cards which have WAY higher APR rates than my current cards. I guess I'm just confused. I thought I've been building credit these past years but these reports recently make it seem like I've got zero history.

you're like 23 but have the credit profile of a 20 yr. old. so apply for "kid"/"quasi-kid" cards, which are super easy to get (be sure to provide the "right" info.):

https://creditcards.citi.com/credit-cards/citi-forward-for-colle...

www.capitalone.com/credit-cards/journey-student/

www.capitalone.com/credit-cards/cash-rewards-for-newcomers/


btw, APR is irrelevant. just don't carry a balance.



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