Today’s post is really just a bunch of disconnected updates. It is currently mid Feb of JumpStart Jr.’s senior year. JumpStart Jr. recently became a legal adult, and we jumped in immediately attempting to establish some financial accounts. We also attended a couple of college functions.
Credit card AP
In a previous post, I chose a Bank of America card for his first credit card application. There are 3 possible outcomes when applying online: instant approval, pending, and instant decline. Instant approval feels great. There are some different philosophies on how to handle pending, but I typically pick the lazy option of waiting patiently. On his birthday, we got the dreaded instant decline.
Another previous post detailed my questions about credit scores for 17 year olds. My wife and I use our free Credit karma accounts to monitor our credit. On JumpStart Jr.’s 18th birthday, attempts to create an account were unsuccessful. There was a records don’t match screen we could not navigate past.
After the setbacks, I decided to try USAA. JumpStart Jr. already has an account number, screen name, and password, and they usually have great customer service. His accounts are all youth or custodial and can be accessed and controlled from inside my account. There was even a recent email plugging new adult/student opportunities. Upon logging in, everything looked the same as always. There is an option to add a free credit check tile to the home page. Once clicked it led to some verification questions. I thought the questions were funny and I was optimistic. Two question listed a bunch of accounts that he had obviously never had. No mortgage in 2014, no car loan when he was 8 years old, no credit card, and the correct choice “none of these”. The final question had his cell phone digits as a correct choice. Unfortunately after the verification questions, we ran into this screen.
Based on USAA’s usual great service, I decided to enter a live chat, identified myself as the father and asked about conversion to adult checking, adult savings, and a first credit card. The representative responded that checking would happen automagically (He may not have used that exact word.), in a couple of days. The savings was custodial, and he recommended closing, and opening a new adult account. He then transferred us to a credit card representative. This guy was useless, and described tabs within USAA that I should click on. He also gave me another option of a phone number and times to call. I asked if there was no-fee card that would likely get approved. He responded that there was no way to know without applying, and added that they had lots of no fee cards. I’m hoping for a typical USAA customer service survey so I can complement the first guy and bash the second guy.
Roanoke College Scholarship Competition
On Friday we attended the Roanoke College Scholarship competition. It was a pretty rough day on JumpStart Jr. There was writing prompt with an hour time allotment and a computer. It was followed by a 20 minute interview/conversation with a professor. I would estimate 50 prospective students in attendance, and this was the 3rd of 4 competition days. There are lots of potential awards ranging from full ride down to $1000/year. There are only a couple full rides, but high numbers on some of the other scholarships. The day was low stress, but a little long for the parents. The best presentation were early in the day, and consisted of a question and answer panel with current Roanoke College seniors. The day ended with a nice lunch and a couple of not-so entertaining presentations.
Sunday night we attended a Congratulations Reception for admitted Radford students. I was excited to attend because it was at the Taubman Museum. The Taubman is a crazy looking building in Down Town Roanoke. I have walked past it a hundred times, but never been inside. To be honest, seeing the Taubman was the best part of the night. The presentations were lacking. Alumni gave testimonials and 3 out of 3 were former basketball players who attended Radford free on scholarship. (In case you are wondering JumpStart Jr. sucks at basketball.) The first guy was the most entertaining speaker of the night, but by the third it became repetitive and was not helpful. I am not someone who sits around judging people based on grammatical mistakes. I even used the word “sucks” a paragraph back, but bad grammar seemed to be a theme of the night. It was even in speeches by well-dressed Radford personnel with impressive job titles. My wife and I kept our opinion to ourselves, and during the car ride home confirmed, we both had the same sour impression. We plan to visit Radford soon, and will hopefully have a better visit.
We’ll watch to see if the checking account changes, and take care of the savings account. I think I’ll wait a little while and monitor the Credit Karma and the USAA credit score tile. I may have JumpStart Jr. call the reconsideration line at Bank of America. They do have secured cards, and maybe he should get one of those instead. Unfortunately they have 39$ annual fees. I am undecided if that would be worth it, or if we should just be patient. We will be anxiously waiting to hear Roanoke College. The next few months should be busy.