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Why I’m feeling credit-hungry this year

Kristin McGrath

January 11, 2013

Are you feeling extra credit-hungry? You’re not the only one. According to FICO’s quarterly survey of bankers, banks are expecting a rush in consumer requests for more credit in the first half of 2013.

Sixty-one percent of the bankers FICO surveyed are expecting a swell in applications for new credit cards, as well as requests for increased credit lines. That’s the highest level measured in the survey’s three-year history.

I’m among the credit-thirsty hordes. I’m after another credit card, as well as an increased credit limit on my existing one.

It’s not like I’m planning a shopping spree or lavish vacation. I simply want better credit. My credit isn’t terrible — I pay off every cent I charge on my card every month. However, I’d like to boost my score a bit so that I’m a shoo-in for a good rate on the car loan I may need in the next couple years.

My first plan of attack is to ask my bank to raise the credit limit on my existing card. On CreditCardGuide.com, we advise readers to keep their credit utilization (the amount of credit they use compared to the amount of credit they have) under 30 percent to boost their credit scores. I use my card for travel purchases and online shopping to take advantage of the purchase protection credit cards offer. However, my limit is low enough that, if I buy more than one plane ticket or a few expensive items in a single billing cycle, staying below that 30 percent line is difficult. I ran into this problem during my holiday shopping.

The second item on my game plan is to get another credit card. My financial adviser suggested I get a rewards card last year, and I still haven’t done so. Although I like to keep my personal finances as low-maintenance as possible, adding a card (and paying off the balance on time every month) would help both increase my available credit and demonstrate to lenders that I can handle multiple credit accounts.

If you’ve got an appetite for credit, too, make sure you’re ready for more credit before applying. The bankers FICO surveyed urge consumers to be cautious. Nearly 40 percent say that we’re still in uncertain times, meaning it’s vital for consumers to save their money. One-third say the advice they’d give consumers heading into 2013 would be to pay down as much debt as possible.

Need to temper your credit cravings with financial discipline? Check out some of my favorite personal finance blog posts from this week.

Kim of Eyes on the Dollar yearns to be free of debt payments.

Not Made of Money has a list of tasks for getting your finances in order in the new year.

Tie the Money Knot tackles the dilemma of splitting restaurant bills with friends.

Narrow Bridge Finance shares some tips for saving — rather than wasting — money in thrift shops.

Young Cheap Living explores how living a minimalist life can lead to mental health.

So Over This outlines how to acknowledge your weaknesses and take control of your money problems.