JumpStart is JumpStalled

Lately some of the JumpStart seems to be JumpStalled.

My son Jumpstart Jr. recently turned and 18 is beginning his finances from scratch.  The goals are to JumpStart him from Scratch in the following areas:

*Put both children in a position to get through college with low debt, while not straining our finances too badly.

*Find the right college/s for my children and the way for them to attend at the best price.

*Build an efficient money management system for my kids to handle their finances.

*Build my kids a high credit score by college graduation.

*Abuse Take advantage of credit card and bank promotions in order accumulate miles/points/cash, and customer/hotel/airline status that my kids can enjoy after graduation.

The first 3 goals are going well.

Jr. has made his actual college decision, and chosen Radford University, which is by comparison an affordable choice.  We have pledged $18k of parental assistance per year.  The $18k for the first year is saved, and we even already paid a small deposit.  We have the saving plan spend cycle that will be our life for the next 6 years.  It should keep us one year ahead on college expenses.

Jr. has set up a checking and savings account.  In fact, he accidentally has 2 of each.  I would blame USAA, for giving fast estimates on youth accounts converting to adult, within a few days. USAA would probably blame me for being impatient, and opening him new accounts 10 days later.  It took 12 days for the Youth accounts to automagically change.  But, whatever.

Jr. has been working 25+ hours per week, and bringing in steady money, especially considering the hours are on top of attending high school.  He gets 20 hours per week at one job, which is difficult and very high paced, at a busy Asian restaurant.  He gets maybe 5 hours per week at a second relaxing job at snow ball shop.

Jr. manages his money through deposits on the USAA ap and can utilize his debit card for spend and ATM withdrawals. He has set a goal for his savings account along with a deadline. He appears to be ahead of schedule, to have his desired savings, by the end of this school year.

The last 2 goals are JumpStalled.

My last 2 goals dealing with credit score, credit cards, and miles/points/cash are the part that is JumpStalled.  The Bank of America Travel Award Card for Students was chosen for his first application after turning 18.  Jr. got the instant rejection on the online application, but some promising mail arrived 3 days later.  The follow up post titled Progress described BofA’s offer to issue a card if I agreed to be a guarantor for the card.

After mailing off the paperwork, we assumed he had his first card with my backing.  About 10 days later, we both got letters rejecting him for the card.

I am pretty skilled at avoiding phone calls to call centers, and have not followed up yet with the phone call.  There is a “What the Hell? What is the deal?” phone call to BofA that will happen over Spring Break.

A Delta AMEX card with Jr.’s name on it did arrive today, but he is only an authorized user for that card.  I’ll earn 3000 Delta miles after $500 in spend, with the card.  AMEX is the only bank that ties social security numbers to authorized users, and this is not the first AMEX card tied to his SS number. Although, it hasn’t seemed to help his credit.

Inside of the USAA website, there is an option for a tile with a credit score monitoring feature.

I have no theories on what the 4 is supposed to mean.   After following the details link, it reveals a credit score of N/A.  On another page it tallies one credit pull (BoA?) and tallies zero accounts (because BofA won’t give him one.).

Discover Score Card and Credit Karma websites haven’t been helpful yet either.  They lead to errors or no information.

Monitoring credit score and getting approved for a first credit card have become frustrating endeavors.

Anyway, I’ll keep reporting successes and failures, whichever comes next.

Posted in updates.


  1. You might want to add him as an authorized person on your credit card that way he can build his credit. Once he has credit built up he’ll be able to get his own credit card.

    • He has been an authorized user on my AMEX starwood card since he was 16. He uses it for all purchases that we pay for like hair cuts, gas for our car, etc. He carries his debit card for purchases he is responsible for. He just received the AMEX delta card as an authorized user, but I only added that because of a bonus 2500 Delta miles.

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