Well, it’s been almost two weeks since my initial flurry of applications, and so far I have received 4 of the credit cards that I applied for in the mail. As you may recall, I was instantly approved for Chase Freedom and Citi Professional. Discover immediately followed up my application with a phone call to check the legitimacy of my application (they were mostly concerned with my lack of a land telephone line – hello, does anyone use a land line these days?), and then notified me that I was approved over the phone. REI emailed me with an approval notice about a week later. I was starting to wonder about the Citi mtvU card (I was really hoping to get this card for the 5% back on restaurants) — and, strangely, I never received notification at all. They just sent me the card in the mail. So the final count: 5 approvals out of 5 applications.
My credit limits aren’t nearly as high as I would like for credit cardarbitrage purposes — but are as high as I could expect giving that I’m a graduate student (though, upon the advice of the finance community, I did include my ENTIRE household in my stated household income, which thanks to my Intel employed roommates, adds up to a nice figure). The guys overseeing my credit application must have scratched their heads, thinking “What on earth is this girl, who has never borrowed anything in her life, asking for $15K credit limit for?!? And how does she plan on paying it back on THAT salary?” hehe, little do you know, my friends, little do you know.
I’m just now adding all the new credit cards to my Yodlee acount so I can track them online. Now I just have to make my initial purchases and wait for the sign-up bonuses to start rolling in. Cha-ching!
I have 6 months to ask for a balance transfer on the Citi mtvU card at 0%APR, and 1 year for the Citi Professional. Here’s my plan of attack for the Citi cards. Since I will be getting the introductory 0% APR on both purchases and BTs for 6 months, I can go ahead request the BT and use the mtvU card as I normally would, mostly at restaurants and fast food places (hmm, do coffee shops count? Ugh, I’m so disappointed in myself — I’ve recently developed a frozen decaf mocha habit! There was a week when I wasn’t sleeping at ALL due to the caffeine, but once I switched to decaf, I was able to resume my somewhat erratic normal sleeping schedule).
Okay, as I was saying…anyways, after 6 months of opening my account, my APR on purchases will go back up to something outrageous (quickly scanning welcome letter — 17.99%), and any payments I make after that will automatically apply to the balance transfer (this is definitely a case where you have to read the fine print, credit card companies always get you that way, by applying payments to the balances with lower rates — which in this case will be the balance transfer). At that point, I will get finance charges on any purchases I make, which I don’t want to do. So, I will just have to stop using the card for purchases until I completely pay off the BT. I should do the balance transfer as soon as possible so there is less lag time between the end of my 0% on purchases and the end of my 6-month 0% BT period.
THEN, I will transfer most of my credit limit from the mtvU card over to the Citi Professional card, and ask for the 0% BT on that card for a nice sizable amount. The 0% introductory rate on that card will last 12 months from the date of that first balance transfer. I don’t plan on using the Professional card at all for purchases (hmm, edited to add, that I will only be using this for 3% cash back at office stores — so not very often, and once the BT begins, not for a year). So I can just use sit back and let the money I transfer collect interest in my Emigrant account while I pay the minimum monthly payments on the balance transfer.
I have yet to really figure out what’s going on with the Discover balance transfer. I did request a BT in my initial application, but my welcome letter didn’t mention anything about it, so I’ll have to call and check the status on that.
Here’s the breakdown of my new credit card arsenal:
Chase Freedom: Instant approval/ $1,500 CL/will only use once for the $250 sign up bonus
Citi Professional: Instant approval/$4,000 CL/$150 sign up bonus + $40 cardoffers.com bonus/3% cash back at office supply stores, and 0%APR on BTs and purchases for 12 months
Citi mtvU: Never notified of approval, just received card in the mail/$33 sign up bonus on cardoffers.com/$7,000 CL/0%APR on BTs and Purchases for 6mo, 5% cash back on restaurants(inc fast food), bookstores (inc Amazon), record stores, movie theaters, and video rental stores
Discover Miles: Approval over the phone/$12,000CL/$40 cardoffers.com sign up bonus/12,000 bonus miles with purchase each month for 12 months/0%APR on BTs and purchases for 12 months
REI Gold Card: Approval over email/$10,000 CL/$40 REI gift card after first purchase/10% REI member refund on full-price items + 5% cash back on EVERY REI purchase