I started working on rebuilding my own credit a few years ago when I realized how very important credit was. After a disastrous experience in college where I, at the age of 18 with no job or other source of income, obtained 9 credit cards, one an American Express card with NO LIMIT, in a span of about 3 months. I swore off credit cards and pretty much, credit in general for years after that. I had pretty much paid cash for everything I wanted in my 20s and 30s. Outside of a house and car, both of which were financed with the help of others and substantial amounts of cash down payments, I never really bought anything else on credit.
It wasn’t until I started looking into real estate investing that I realized I needed to work on repairing or at least reestablishing my credit. I talked to several banking and other industry insiders who expressed to me that in order to build credit, you have to first have credit. It was a Catch 22 that many people faced. You can’t get credit unless you can show that you can manage credit but unfortunately, you have to have to have credit to show that.
So basically, in order to be approved for a loan to purchase and rehabilitate these great investment properties that I had located, I needed to show that I was able to manage my credit card and other revolving debt on a monthly basis. Ok, that was cool but…… I didn’t have any credit cards. I hadn’t had any in years. No one wanted to be the first to give me one again and every time I applied, my FICO score dropped 3 more points.
Then I heard about the SHOPPING CART TRICK. The Shopping Cart Trick (SCT) is a method that is used to obtain store credit cards without a HARD PULL on your credit. Hard Pulls are the ones that drop your score. Add to that the fact that you may not even be approved for the card and you just damaged your FICO Score. The SCT involves what we call a SOFT PULL. A Soft Pull usually just verifies your identity. A sure fire way to recognize if an offer for credit is because of the SCT is if it only asks for the last four of your social security number.
Some important rules before trying the Shopping Cart Trick are:
- You need to be opted in for credit card promotional e-mails. You’re automatically opted in, so unless you have manually opted out you won’t need to do anything. I recommend being opted in anyway, you might receive a good targeted promotion if you are (here is how you can check for these offers).
- Only works on cards issued by Comenity Bank (and some cards issued by Synchrony & Wells Fargo)
- Turn your pop up blocker off if you use one. A lot of the credit card offers pop up, if you have a pop up blocker then you might miss it.
- If your asked for your full SSN, it might be a hard pull. Actually, one only asked my last 4 and still did a hard pull! Some of these websites ask for your full SSN when applying for the store cards, whilst others ask for your last four digits. If it asks for your full SSN it might be a hard pull so be careful. As always, your mileage may vary.
How To Do The Trick:
- Go to the website of the store you want a card for.
- Join their loyalty program (some people find more success skipping this step and just checking out as a guest)
- Add some items to your shopping cart
- Start to check out
- Enter in your name and address, make sure this matches your address listed in your credit reports exactly!!!!
- Continue going through the check out process until you get to the final payment page. You should receive your offer before this page, if you haven’t then either the shopping cart trick isn’t working or you need to try again.
- Choose to accept your offer
- Complete the application
You don’t need to actually purchase anything at the store you use this trick on. Once your application is finished you’ll automatically be taken back to your check out page (if this was closed earlier) you can just abandon this after you’ve finished applying. THE IDEA HERE IS TO GET THE CREDIT, NOT TO USE IT FOR A SHOPPING SPREE!!! You always want to keep your balances below 30% of the limit for the best impact on your credit score.
Credit limits on these cards are extremely low, usually $500 or less. Although my limit on my Wayfair Card was $2200, my PayPal credit line was $560, and my Pier1 card limit was only $500.
You can request a credit limit increase and they usually give automatic credit limit increases if you put any decent amount of spend on the cards. They typically won’t increase the credit limits if the card is not 9 months or older. Requesting a credit limit online is usually a soft pull. You might be able to get higher limits on these cards by adding a lot of items (e.g several thousand) to your shopping cart before trying this trick.
In my next post, I will list many of the merchants whose websites you can go on to try the trick. EDIT: CLICK HERE TO READ PART 2!