Early in 2012 credit card issuers became more selective about who they issued cards to. According to Mintel Comperemedia, credit card issue rates dropped about 30% during the first quarter of 2012 in comparison to the previous year. Although the issue rates are decreasing, there has been an increase in incentives for cardholders and potential cardholders. For example, American Express is offering $150 cash back if a cardholder spends $1,000 or more in the first three months of holding the Blue Cash Preferred card. Another incentive from Chase requires a cardholder to spend only $500 in the first three months with a reward of $100 cash back. Offers from credit card issuers are expected to multiply during the summer months.
Below are some helpful hints to improve and maintain a good credit score:
1. As long as you manage them well, the more credit cards you hold, the better. Many people think if you are not using a card frequently, the best thing to do is cancel it. However, the more cards you hold, the more responsible you seem to lenders. It is very important to your credit score to always pay your credit card bills and all other bills on time.
2. Do not max out your credit cards. Many credit analysts have said in the past the best way to improve your credit score is to never use more than 30% of your available credit. Fair Isaac said that Americans’ with the highest credit scores rarely use more than 10 – 20 percent of their available credit per card.
3. Even those who are in debt should hold at least two cards. Even cardholders who have two credit cards are sometimes viewed as having a “thin file.” Most experts in the field suggest for everyone two carry anywhere from three to five cards.
4. Do not apply for credit cards any more frequently than six months apart. Applying for a credit card can lower your score up to 25 points; therefore it is never a good idea to apply for cards too close together. When inquiring for a new card, this information stays on your record for two years and can impact your score for one year. Those who apply for multiple cards in a short time frame are perceived as having financial problems.
5. If you want to close a credit card account, the best way is to pay off the card and not use it for a long period of time and eventually the card issuer will close the account.
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