While credit card offers change all the time, the system that our credit is based on is quite structured and definitely not something that changes from quarter to quarter. Personally, I’m fascinated with the ridiculousness and confusion around finance and credit.
Understanding credit and credit reports certainly isn’t as bad as understanding tax law, but let’s face it some plain English would be nice.
So here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- Credit reports (and scores of course) differ in format and content with each bureau
- You can get a report for FREE each and every year.
- If your report has incorrect information, you are entitled to file a dispute and get it fixed (this is the main reason you should check your report as 10% of all reports have errors) — Sample Dispute Letter
- Green is usually good, yellow is a potential bad thing, and red on your report is typically bad
- Read up on some credit facts and myths
Keep in mind that while your reports don’t display your score, whether based on FICO or VantageScore numbering model, the reports are solely what make up your credit score. You’ll notice that your income is never shown on your credit report … that’s because income is not a factor in credit score. Creditor’s use it as a determination of how much credit to extend to you if they decide that your income and credit file meet their requirements.
When it comes to scores, we always want scores over 700 on FICO and over 800 on VantageScore before we think about applying for any premium travel rewards cards. If you’re looking for a loan / mortgage, you’ll want those scores about 740 on FICO and closer to 900 for VantageScore which will ensure not only being approved, but receiving the lowest possible interest rates!
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Annual Fee: $95 fee waived for the first year
- Foreign Fees: No
- Card Type: Bank
The Sapphire Preferred offers 2x points on dining and travel, and no foreign transaction fees, making this the go-to card for travelers.
This card accumulates Ultimate Rewards points, which are very valuable for transfer to United and Hyatt. Overall, this card is a great choice for maximizing earnings on dining, travel, and every day spend.
- Earn 40,000 bonus points when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $500 in travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate RewardsSM
- Earn 5,000 bonus points after you add the first authorized user and make a purchase in the first 3 months from account opening.
- 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases
- No foreign transaction fees, plus Chip and Signature enabled for international travel.
- 1:1 point transfer to leading frequent travel programs at full value — that means 1,000 Ultimate Rewards points equal 1,000 partner miles/points.
- 24/7 direct access to dedicated customer service specialists
- Introductory Annual Fee of $0 the first year, then $95