Over the past several months of reading and using credit cards for miles and points purposes I’ve learned to keep tabs on how to get new credit cards (and when to cancel old ones) as well as the affect on my credit score/rating. Two websites have become very useful in that regard: CardMatch and CreditKarma. Both sites are totally free for use and have the highest levels of security. They are rated by major news sources like CNN and NY Times to be very effective in what they do. So now for a description of each:
Put simply, CardMatch helps you find credit cards that are right and available for you. After securely inputting your name, address, and social security number, it performs what is called a “soft pull” on your credit, which allows them to see your current status without negatively affecting your credit score or report. From that information, they make a list of credit card suggestions along with their policy and bonus information. For example, for me it made a generic list of types of cards and then got more specific once I scrolled through.
While signing up and closing credit cards more frequently than the average user, it is important to know how this will affect your credit score. You may be coming up on a major purchase like a house that would require a mortgage or you may just want to keep your credit in its “excellent” rating. CreditKarma lets you look at your credit score while telling you where it comes from.
As you can see with the image to the left, you get some detail on what your score is as well as how that compares to what your score could be. Ideally it is best to be higher than 750 to be considered in the “excellent” category. Anything higher than that and a credit card issuer is likely going to get you a new card whenever you want (within the policy limits it has for itself). Each time you get a new card, this score will dip for a month or two but come right back up afterward.
You will also see what affects your credit score – it shows how many times someone performed a “hard pull” on your credit, how much of your credit you are using, and how many late payments you have.
There are more details on these site than what I’m showing here, of course, so you should definitely check then out. They are important parts of the Miles/Points crowd.