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I have recently come out of some financial trouble. I had about 4 collection agencies I owed money to and 2 credit card accounts that had been frozen and closed.

I have now paid off both credit cards and all collection agencies but one. Once I pay off the last collection agency I will have no more outstanding debt (other then student loans which I have been paying on time).

My question is, how long should I wait before applying for a new credit card? I had financial issues due to school and no job. I am now well employed and would like to own one again.

  • I think infinity is the correct answer. – Pete B. Jul 8 '15 at 19:41
  • Because I had some financial trouble and decided to go to school I should never try to regain a credit history? Never buy a house? Never move forward in life? I am in my twenties after all. I made no deal, I payed all my debts in full. – marsh Jul 8 '15 at 19:49
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    @marsh - It's not you, Pete doesn't like credit cards. – Nathan L Jul 8 '15 at 20:25
  • My assertion is two things: Credit cards are not a necessary part of life and you could probably move forward, more readily, without getting on your hands and knees to beg a banker to allow you to use their product. Second is that living without credit does not preclude you from owning a home. According to one site 40% of Canadians own their home free and clear (2006). – Pete B. Jul 9 '15 at 14:07
  • Most things in life now require credit cards, I find myself purchasing prepaid ones to do almost anything. Buying a house is much easier if you can get a loan. – marsh Jul 9 '15 at 14:10
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I would recommend you look at Credit Karma and assess your situation. The site is free and will offer a score similar to your FICO score enabling you to best judge when to apply. They advertise, like any web site, and will offer credit card signups, which is how they make money.

Disclaimer - I am a blogger and have written about Credit Karma, but no payment from them. I've actually been out drinking with their marketing team, but that was it. Nice bunch.

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    This site does not seem to work for Canadians unfortunately. – marsh Jul 8 '15 at 23:12
  • Sorry. It didn't occur to me to ask for country. You might search for a similar site for Canada. – JoeTaxpayer Jul 9 '15 at 0:00
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If you are planning to get new cards, it is probably best to open the accounts as soon as possible to start establishing a history of good credit use.

You might also wish to open multiple accounts so that future lines will have less of an impact on your average age of open credit lines.

Since you will probably have higher interest rates it is also advisable never to carry a balance on any of your newly acquired cards. This will prevent a recurrence of the problems you are now trying to recover from.

  • Won't I get rejected for the new cards though applying now? I can only assume my credit is trashed. – marsh Jul 8 '15 at 20:51
  • You'll get a higher interest rate, but that doesn't mean no one will lend to you. – Nathan L Jul 8 '15 at 21:01

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