International student establishes a Credit History, how to improve it rapidly..?
International student at a University in the US. I had fluctuating TA jobs at the University based on requirement for the semester and had 1 on campus job. Average salary was $ 800-900 a month. I issued a secured credit card (SCC) from a credit Union. Limit was $ 800 and I paid a $ 880 deposit to start. $ 80 would be refundable. This was the only bank account I had and hence the only credit card (CC) until last September 2013 when I opened a checking-saving account at Wells Fargo.
My expenses: I pay the total rent using my checking account (roughly $ 750). I pay electricity, gas, internet, telephone bills for my self and 2 roommates. They deposit all of their share in my checking account at the month end. Apart from that I use my CC to purchase my groceries, books, etc. I have never exceeded my CC limit.
So I always spend more than 500-600 a month using my CC and towards the end when the roommates return their share or when there is only $ 30-40 left for use, usually the latter, I transfer $ 750 to the CC to have almost $ 800 for use. This was my approach for the past 14-15 months. I checked with my Credit Union bank about my Credit score. She said the soft score was 651.
1) I plan on applying for a Wells Fargo Unsecured VISA CC. Chances of me getting it or should I go for a Secured from Wells Fargo. What limit should I go for..??
2) Does cancelling Credit Union SCC or any other CC hurt my credit score..??
3) Any suggestions to improve/ repair my credit score. Is it possible to reach 700 in the next year or so..??
Looking forward to your replies. Thank you.