My esteemed blogging colleague Matt recently made it clear that he’s not an expert:
I’m not an expert, I’m just a guy. Sure, I’ve done some cool things with points and miles, and yes, my finances have some neat things attached to them, but I’m not an expert…
I know a few things, but I am not the fount of all knowledge, in fact on a manufactured spending level I currently don’t do much at all, while I did put things on hold for the mortgage application I was going through, even at full steam ahead I am only doing 3-4 very basic and simple things each month as I just don’t have access to many options, and even when I do I just don’t have enough time or capacity to always practice what I preach.
I’d like to officially join Matt in the “just a guy” group. I love credit cards, I love figuring out how to maximize my rewards, and I love staying on top of the latest deals, but at the same time I have a full time job, a full-time family, and not nearly enough time to learn and do everything with credit cards, points, and miles that I would love to do.
Because of this I’ll occasionally throw out an idea which I haven’t investigated myself, and today is such a day. In last week’s post on retailer credit cards, a few commenters voiced the opinion that the rewards from retailer credit cards aren’t worth getting a hard pull. Different people can disagree on what exactly a hard pull is worth, but everybody can agree that all things being equal, it’s best not to have too many hard pulls.
There apparently is something called the “shopping cart trick” which lets you get a credit card without a hard pull. I’ve seen it mentioned in a few places as a way for people with poor credit to build up their credit file, but if it works it would also be a way for people to reap retail credit card rewards without getting too many applications for new credit on their file.
The basic principle is that you give retailers your info and then they’ll preapprove you and open a new card with no hard pull. I have no experience with this so I can’t vouch for it myself, it’s just something I stumbled upon while thinking about my next round of credit card applications.
I’ve seen little discussion about this on blogs. The best summary I’ve been able to find is on a blog called “Roots, Credit, and Life”:
- You MUST be opted-in for promotional offers. If you don’t know what this means, clickhere. If you know you are opted-out, you can opt-in again here. Unless you remember opting-out, you are probably opted-in already and don’t need to worry about this. If you get credit card offers in the mail, you are opted-in for sure.
- The trick applies only to cards issued by Comenity Bank. Comenity is a major issuer of retail store credit cards, but also issues a few Visa and Mastercard branded-cards.
HOW TO DO IT:
This is the simple part:
- Go to the retailer’s website, such as http://www.buckle.com.
- At this point, I usually register or join or whatever that particular store calls it. You give them your name, email, phone number and maybe address information.
- Pick an item or two and add it to your shopping bag or shopping cart.
- Begin the checkout process. Enter your shipping address, billing address, etc. and go as far as you can before it requires you to enter your credit card information. If the trick is going to work, you will get a pop up offering you an account at some point before you have to enter payment info. ACCEPT THE OFFER.
- If you have pop-ups blocked, you may miss the offer.
- Once you accept the account offer, you can choose whether or not you want to proceed with using your new account to finalize your purchase. You do not have to buy any of the items in your cart once you accept the offer – you will still get the account.
You may or may not be told the credit limit on the account. I would not expect it to be high though – they are typically $500 or less. You can always request a credit limit increase once you get your card.
I don’t want to copy the whole thing, so go read the post if you’re interested in this, as there’s more there. I don’t think there will be tons of people interested, but it’s still a pretty neat trick if it works. If you’ve ever done this, please let everybody know in the comments below.