Hello all. Long time lurker, first time poster. (Obvously. )
This is going to be a bit wordy, but I am grateful for the guidance I’ve recevied through this forum and wanted to give back a little something in the form of encouragement for all those on the path to rebuilding. It CAN be done. I’m 41 and lived foolishy for most of my life. I finally grew up and decided that it’s time to buckle down and get my act together, as I want to buy a home some day. I’ve only been in the active rebuilding stages about 9 months and have acccomplished a lot in this time frame.
I started my sincere quest to rebuld my credit back in May 2015 with CK scores of 508TU/517EQ. My credit scores are now CK 619TU/601EQ and FICO8 604EQ/621TU/589EX, and still climbing. I had various baddies consiting of returned checks at Best Buy, a Spint cell phone bill, a Comcast bill, a default judgement/public record from a guy I rented from back in 09 and had disagreements with, 3 erroneous files, and about 7-8 medical bills. Here’s what I’ve done so far:
-Started with a Fingerhut/WebBank account. Approved for $ 300. Didn’t understand how credit worked and maxed it out with one purchase. My minimum payment was $ 15, I pay $ 35. Early. Every month. And like clockwork, got my first CLI for $ 800 3 months later. I haven’t charged a single thing since the initial purchase (and don’t intend to) and just paid it off yesterday. Should be a nice little bump due to decreased util once the cycle ends and they report.
-Then one month later, applied and got approved for a $ 350 CL with Gettington/WebBank. Again, like an idiot, I maxed it out with one purchase. Minimum payment is $ 20, and as with the FH account, been paying $ 35. No CLI yet. Kinda bummed about that, as although I never plan to use either FH or GT again, an increased CL would be nice for the utilization metric.
-Then the next month, I applied for, and was approved for a $ 200 secured Cap One card with a $ 99 deposit. I added $ 50 a month later to bump my CL to $ 250. For the most part, I use it and pay it off before the statement closes. Actually, come to think of it, this is the very first month I’ll ever have to pay any interest (thanks to a little extra spending due to Christmas and a birthday). After this, I just garden for a tiny bit.
A couple of months later, I’m doing a little car shopping, as my current vehicle was getting a little long in the tooth and starting to have major problems, and find a vehicle I’m interested in. I work at a dealearship, so I go talk to the sales manager and finance guy and end up getting financed for $ 16,000 with $ 1000 down at 18% interest for 72 months through my local credit union. Of course this is astronomical, but I have absolute NO plans of letting this go on for long…
My first payment isn’t due for 45 days. I make it a week after I signed the papers. Now, I have checking accounts with both Wells Fargo and USAA, but since my car is financed through a credit union, I went in to open a checking account with them so I could send part of my paycheck to that and have it auto drafted for my car payment, but they require a FICO of 600 to get a decent checking account. So no go on that. Oh well, I’ll just use WF billpay for the time being.
-I then pay off the non-medical debts I owe and sucessfully dispute the ones I don’t. This made a HUGE difference. As of this posting, the only baddies I have left on my report are the public record (which I’m currently working on) and the medical bills, which total less than $ 3,000. I garden for a bit, then app and am denied for Capital One QS/Platinum, Barclays and Discover, so I continue to garden for a bit. I did recon the Barclays and they stated they want to see more payment history, which is understandable.
-I waited a couple of months and (stupidly) tried Cap one again. Same result. Denied. Then tried for Walmart…denied. Oh well. Keep on keeping on.
-So a couple months later, I decided to app for Walmart again, and waddyaknow!? Approved for $ 500! Feeling sure of my self, I apped for Amazon and WHAT!? Approved for $ 600!! I was on a roll, so I apped for Lowes….Denied. LOL. It’s totally ok, tho. It was a very productive and uplifiting day. I use these cards just like I use my Cap one secured card, sparingly and pay them off by the statement closing date. As it stands now, My Walmart card has a zero balance and my Ammy card has a $ 300 balance that’s getting paid off in a week. These are bascially toy limits and just about any use will hurt my util scores,so for the most part, I’m just using them as rebulding tools.
-Ok. On this next one, point and laugh at me if you want, but I appd for a Credit One card and got approved for the magic $ 300. BUT! I paid my $ 75 yearly fee the moment I activated the card and will NOT be using this for anything other than a rebuilding tool. I dare say this will NEVER see a charge above $ 20 (which will be promptly paid by the closing date).
So, fast forward to a couple of days ago. I decide my credit has improved enough to talk to the CU again about opening up a checking account. This time there was no problem. They opened up a free checking account and setup the auto draft. The FSO was really impressed with how much I have improved my credit in 2 months time and suggested that since there would be an EQ HP for the checking account app, that I might as well app for a CreditBuilder loan (You borrow, they place the money in a saving acount, you make payments, they give you the money at the end. Basically a savings acount that builds credit), and a credit card. I said sure and within 10 minutes, had a $ 500 CreditBuilder loan and a $ 500 credit card!!! She said they do CLI’s frequently and having 2 loans and 1 CC will almost guarantee me a lower interest rate on my car loan within a few months, which was my intention all along.
I know this was VERY wordy, but I wanted to be thorough and outline my “credit travels” thus far, with the hopes that my (short) story might be useful to someone else. I still have a LONG way to go, but I’m giving it everything I’ve got. i’m going to start PFDing the medcial bills that will allow it (Thankfully ARS and Credit Control are pretty PFD friendly), and will continue to use the credit I’ve been lucky enough to attain very wisely. I still haven’t given up on Cap One, or Barclays either. I’m hoping within a couple months after my credit settles I’ll get an approval from them as well, and then….the sky’s the limit.
For all those that feel hopeless, don’t. As others have stated time and time again, it CAN be done. And it’s not as hard as you might think….