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Credit scores: Advice to a college student

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Q2: Student credit card question
I’m a college student that has pretty good credit because I have a car loan (although I split the payment with my parents.) I’ve never been late on it, I’ve had it for a little over a year and I’ve checked out my credit report and score and everything and its at least 650-700. I also have student loans out which I know impact my report even though I haven’t started paying them yet. (I’m only a sophomore.) But I know I need to build even more credit and I’d like to get a credit card so I can boost it even more. I’m really only planning on using it for gas and maybe the occasional meal out or normal necessities. I’m thinking about the Discover More card or the Amazon Rewards card. I do plan on paying it off in full every month as well. I just have no idea which to apply for and I’m nervous to even start applying for fear of picking the wrong one or possibly getting denied.
- Ashlee

If you’ve checked your credit score, shouldn’t you know exactly what it is? My guess is that you used a FICO estimator rather than actually getting your score.

Anyway, if you’re going to apply for a card, I’d choose one that gives you bonuses based on your normal behavior as it is right now, not based on how you think you might behave in some hypothetical future. If you buy gas at BP, get a BP card. If you do a lot of Amazon shopping, get an Amazon card.

Don’t sweat getting declined – if your credit score really is that high, you’ll be issued a card.

Q3: Dealing with extra income
My wife and I have been living together for about a year and a half now. We moved from the West coast to Omaha after graduating college because of a job I got out here. Since then, we’ve been working hard on building our emergency fund/liquid savings. Between saving and a couple of small windfalls that have come our way, we have saved a little over $20,000 in an ING savings account. Aside from that, I have about $6000 in my 401(k), for which I contribute 5% of my paycheck and receive the full company match.

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