How is the App-o-Rama going? If my guessing is correct, you should have gotten a few instant approvals and some deferments on your credit card applications. I wouldn’t worry so much about the deferments. Just sit back and wait for the credit cards to roll in no longer than two weeks max. In the meantime, set up a system on how to manage the cards and review on all the terms of your card offers. Again, do an excel spreadsheet and keep all your cards separated from bonus money to 0% APR to everyday usage cards. Write down the fees and such with Balance Transfer, no annual fees, or the amount of time of 0% APR.Once you have your cards come in, immediately activated by calling the number in front of the card and talk to the CSR. Ask them to confirm the offer and make sure it matches the terms you signed up with. Fax them the proof if you have to. At this time, ask to increase your credit limit too without a hard pull. It may or may not work since there is no harm in asking.Next, gather up all your bonus cards and charge a dollar or two immediately since most require first purchase. Get to your account online and pay it off immediately. **You do not need to wait for your statement to come in**

Now, gather all your balance transfer cards from the same issuer. For example, lets say Chase. Since Chase has a $75 Balance Transfer fee, you only want to BT on one card. E.G. I had about 5 Chase cards approved. Of course, I called and activated the cards immediately. Now, I got three cards with 0% APR for 12 months with $75 max BT fee. I called up my Chase Rewards card, and one by one, I asked to transfer the Credit Limit from my other Chase Cards to this Chase Sony Card. It went from 5K limit to 25K credit limit.

Why do I want to do this?

  • Instead of 5 BT fees, I have only one.
  • You want to keep up with as little as possible with the amount of cards you are Balance Transferring.

It is a good idea because you can extend your 0% BT from 12 months to 24 months. How? 0% APR balance transfer time is not activated until you actual initiate the balance transfer. From the terms:

Balance transfer APR: As long as first balance transfer is completed within 12 months from date of account opening, 0.00% for 12 months from date of first balance transfer. After that, XX.XX% variable.

[…]Transaction fee for balance transfers: 3% of the amount of each balance transfer, $5 minimum, $50 maximum. However, there is no fee with the 0.00% APR balance transfer offer described above.

For example, say you got your card in July with 0% APR, this means that you can wait till June of 2008 and do Balance Transfer and still receive the full 0% APR for one year.

Here’s a quick summary:

  1. Do BT with one card with the combine credit limit.
  2. At the 11th month, pay off all your balance.
  3. Call your other 0% APR Chase card, and transfer the credit limit from your used up 0% apr card to your “new” one.
  4. Ask for a balance transfer check and deposit it into your 6% interest earning savings account.
  5. Hence, your new 12 months 0% APR cycle starts again.

**Important** Don’t ever close any credit cards ever! When you are transferring credit limit to your 0% APR card, you want to leave the other cards open with the lowest minimum they will allow you.

The above steps should be done with Citi, Discover, and Bank of America.

With Bank of America, you can sweet talk to the CSR into waiving the BT fee if any. It worked for me when I told the CSR that I really wanted to do Balance Transfer, but I’m unwilling to pay for the BT fee. The CSR was able to waived the fee.

On the utilization of % of your credit limit, you need to understand how much credit limit you have in total. My rule of thumb is no more than 90% of credit limit on any individual card. Overall, you want to use less than 70% of your credit limit all together. You want your debt-ratio to be less than 70% so your credit score would not be hurt as much.
Your credit score will take a big hit at first after all the App-O-Rama. For every credit card you applied for, 3 to 5 points will be deducted from your credit score. When you do Balance Transfer, it will even take a bigger hit since now your debt/credit limit ratio is high. You want to monitor your credit report and file complaint if there is anything that doesn’t seem right. I wrote about more about understanding credit score here.
Of course, the first reaction is to worry about your credit score. Take an easy breather and try to understand the long term. Your credit line is so high that by the end of your BT’s payoff, your credit score will go even higher. The result will be more offers coming in for next year’s app-o-rama. It is also a good idea to check your credit report once a quarter at and using your WaMu card for monthly credit score.
How to get money from Balance Transfer(BT):

  1. Call them and ask for a BT check.
  2. If they won’t send you a BT check, you can BT to your 0 balance Citi card. The amount will show up on your Citi account as negative balance. Call Citi or log on to your account to request a refund check.

With Bank of America or Chase, you can even request to balance transfer directly to your Bank account when talking to the CSR.

Come back tomorrow for more information about setup and management with all your credit cards, how to increase your credit limit, make more $$ though their credit protector, and hustle your ways out of Balance Transfer fees.