2,674 Contributions 4,188 People Helped Top Contributor

Member Since: June 2013

About Me: "Your credit score is not a reflection of how much money you have, It's about how well you manage it"

Educate yourself about the basics of "Credit" and how the system works and you can take control of your financial life. You don't have to be a Financial Analyst to understand how to use the credit system to your advantage, you need to know what it is that you need to do so you have control, so you are not at the mercy of "Big Finance". The Ideal of living a "cash only" life style is a Grand idea, and one that I can embrace, But the reality is that we live in a capitalist society that values an Algorithm over a persons Character.

After years of living at the mercy of creditors I finally took some time to try to educate myself. I spent 1 or 2 hours every Sunday reading blogs and searching the web for free websites where I could learn more about getting my credit under control and repair my credit. I have never paid a cent for any information or to anyone to do any of this for me. I did it for FREE and so can you. I was amazed, in less than six months I was on my way to getting things in check and with much greater understanding of what it was that needed to be done. I was able to move my score of 510 to 744 in less than a year.

Living with-in your means is the biggest key. Credit is not free money. It is a necessary evil. Credit Cards were created as a means of paying for things with out having to carry cash. Gold Dust fell out of pockets at an alarming rate! It was Emperor Norton of San Francisco that first presented his calling card with his signature as an I.O.U. that local business could present to the bank for payment. It was your basic debit card. When bankers realized that they could charge interest to use a card like this, the credit card was born and so was "Living beyond your means". It was the 15% to 25% interest rates that created the behemoths that the financial institutions have become.

Learn to play their game...
and you won't always be the loser.

Most Helpful Contribution

Credit card utilization and your credit score

Jan 13, 2014
Helpful to 2212 out of 2336 people

A good trick, once you are able to get on to multipul cards. 

I put a recurring charge such as netflicks or my pbs monthly donation on a card. Then put that card away. Only using occasionally through out the year. Then set up a recurring payment to the account for a little less than the balance due. 

When you use the card for something else. You can pay that off.   The card will show activity and keep the balance low using money you are already spending. 

Activity (2674 Total Contributions)

Results 1-25 of 2674Results per page: 5 | 10 | 25Page 1 of 107   Previous | Next

Credit card utilization and your credit score

Jan 13, 2014
Helpful to 2212 out of 2336 people

A good trick, once you are able to get on to multipul cards. 

I put a recurring charge such as netflicks or my pbs monthly donation on a card. Then put that card away. Only using occasionally through out the year. Then set up a recurring payment to the account for a little less than the balance due. 

When you use the card for something else. You can pay that off.   The card will show activity and keep the balance low using money you are already spending. 

Can i get an auto loan with 650 score?

Feb 02, 2014
Helpful to 40 out of 41 people

You would be better off building your credit up to at least 600 first. If you have no other bills get a credit card. I'd try your bank first. They have a record of your banking habits so they will be your best bet. 

I assume you have a low score because you haven't built credit. Not because you can't budget your money. So my advise is from that angle. 

Once you have a card it should only be used for 2 things. Credit Cards are only tools so you don't have to carry cash. Nothing more. 

1) payments that are already in your budget and

 2) Emergencies. 

There is a lot of good advise here on CK. Check it out  learn to use credit to your advantage. 

I use my banks bill pay and e-bills as much as I can.  This helps me to never miss a payment and so I can see my budgeting all in 1 place. 

Here are my basics for building your credit in a consistent manner.   Apply for a new card. If your score is low you may need to do a secured card. 

Once you receive a new card use it. Put everyday expenses that you already going to pay for on it. Gas groceries etc. up to about 60% utilization.  The cash for these have to be transferred into you bill pay acct so it's there when the bill comes in.  Once you have the bill pay it in full 5 to 10 days before the due date. 

Now only use that card for one thing such as groceries. Pay it off every month.   With subsequent cards you should do the same thing. Then only use your card for a single type of purchase. Your 2nd card might be a gas card. Only use it for gas. Not the munchies inside!  Put one of your recurring bills on it such as your cable or electricity bill. Then put the card away in a drawer. Only to be used in an emergency or planned purchases.

( A Planned Purchase is one that you know your going to make. A large appliance or new tires. You should have saved up or budgeted it in so you know how long it will take to pay it off)

Continue on adding cards only when you utilization is down and your score is up.  When plann to apply for a new card. Get your utilization as low as possible for a month or two in advance. Simply stop using the cards and go back to cash. 

You may want to try for the auto loan first. If your bank knows you, you may have a better chance at a better rate. Go in and talk to them personally. Tell them what cash you have for the down payment. The more you put down the better the chances for a loan. If you have cash in the bank try for a secured loan. 


Jun 28, 2014
Go to your bank or credit union.
Helpful to 22 out of 22 people

Ask them to see what you can Pre-Qualify for on an auto loan.

That way when you are out car shopping, You will know in advance what you qualify for and you can negotiate with the dealer as if you were paying cash. 

If you let the dealership try to qualify you, they will submit your info to anywhere from 2 to 10 lenders trying to get you the best rates.  Genreally the CRA's will consider this and lower the number of inquiries given that you don't take all those loans you qualify for, But it will show up as inquiries on you report.

As a rule of thumb I suggest avoiding on-line lenders.  They often have many stipulations in their contracts that require fees for early pay off etc.

good luck

What credit score do u need to purchase a home

Jun 27, 2014
To even qualify you will need at least
Helpful to 22 out of 22 people

a score of 650.  to get a lower % rate you want to get your score over 750.

If you have never had a credit card, Lenders consider you a very high risk because they have no credit history on which to base your reliability of re-paying the loan. 

Scores over 750 take years to build.  But you can get your score up to 650 if you work at it. 

Educate yourself on how credit works on sites like this one and others.  Knowing how it works is your biggest advantage in raising and maintaining your score.  

Good Luck

My credit score has dropped 30 points in the past few months. How can I bring it back up?

May 31, 2014
Scores Fluctuate all the time.
Helpful to 21 out of 21 people

Lowering credit limits won't help, You want to raise them. 

A lot of your score is based on "Debt to income" Ratio as well as available credit. So your goal is raise the available credit while keeping your utilization low. 

Sometimes your score will dropp just because you pay all your bills off every month, That tells lenders that you don't really need credit because you could be paying cash for everything.  Oweing money on a card every once in awhile will help your score in the long run.  Even if you pay off all but a little bit of your balance due each month.

Don't get me wrong, Paying off debt is always a good thing, But the Algirithums that creditors use don't understand that. They only see that you don't carry balances.  Unless you are applying for new credit you don't need to worry about your score fluctuating. It's only when you are planning to apply for new credit that it's actually an issue.  When you know that you want to apply for new credit you can force your score up by paying close attention to how you're paying your bills.

Force your score up by paying off 90% of your balances and carring a portion of your balance forward, do this for a couple of months before appling and you can see your score climb.  Creditors also like to see you using the cards. For example if your card has a limit of $1000.  Charge it up to $600 in one month, Pay off $400 the first month, then charge another $300. the next month, Then pay another $400. that should leave a ballance of $100. + a small amount of interest.  Pay that off in the third month.  Creditors love seeing big payments and the card coming down to 0 again. This little trick can bring your score up 75 points in 3 months.  IT has worked for me, I hope it will work for you.

Good Luck

Open accounts in collection

Feb 24, 2014
Get a copy of your Credit report
Helpful to 28 out of 29 people

And check.  if they are,  write to the CRA and ask for them to be removed.

Find templates for this type of letter on line for free. 

what does it mean if an account is closed but derogatory?

Jan 26, 2015
No, it means they wrote off
Helpful to 66 out of 72 people

What they you owed as a loss. They are no longer trying to collect it and took a tax credit for it. So they can't collect it anymore. 

The account is closed. But they are using that to "punish" you for not paying. That Derog will stay on your credit report for 7 years as a warning to other creditors that you may not pay your bills.  Depending on what other credit you have and the length of your history and how old that entry is, it may or may not have much of an effect on your ability to get credit. 

Good luck 

Is it better to pay off a credit card every month or make payments toward the balance every month?

Feb 02, 2014
Helpful to 43 out of 46 people

Rather than making several smaller payments. You are actually better off making 1 large payment. 

It has to do with reporting the use of the credit. the CC co's report once a month. If you pay it down before you receive a bill it's as if you never used it. Yes, your utilization will be lower but it doesn't give the CC's a chance to see that you can afford to pay it down. All they will see is that you used $50 and paid it off.  

I transfer the money into my Bill Pay acct. then when the bill is due  it is automatically set up to pay the entire balance 10 days before the due date. 

How quickly Capital One reports credit utilization?

Feb 01, 2015
That big payment will be reported
Helpful to 15 out of 15 people

The day your next bill is mailed.  If you get e-bills, it's the day you get your ebill.  

Realize also that just because its reported to the CRA, that doesn't mean that everything else is updated at the same time.  It generally takes anywhere from 15 to 45 days for things to get reported and cross reported to all the different entities involved in your credit report.  

 Since you say you were denied for a Discover Card, do yourself a favor and DON"T apply for new credit again for at least 6 months.  Any sooner and your chances of getting approved drop no matter what your score. Spend the next few months getting that Utilization down. Your score will go up. You want your score as close to 720 as possible the next time you apply.

Good Luck

paying off debt

Apr 03, 2016
first: you will see a drop in your score
Helpful to 14 out of 14 people

any time you apply for new credit or do a new transaction that will move your debt around, you will likely see a drop in your score.  Not having seen your credit report, there is no way to say how much it will effect your score.  After a few months it should bounce back again though.  

After moving that debt to a loan, DO NOT close any of the credit cards.  That would only lower your available credit, meaning that every time you charge on a credit card it will have an even bigger impact on your score.  If you do not want to use particular credit cards, then DON'T use them.  Cut them up, put them in a drawer, What ever. But do not close the accounts, that would hurt you more in the long run, lowering your available credit.  I Personally only carry a balance on cards that offer me 0% or very low interest rate. In general I pay as little as possible in interest and fees over the course of a year.

Closing the oldest cards will lower your score because of the age of your accounts. High interest cards should only be used for a couple of purchases a month and paid off entirely every month.  The same with the newest cards, Pay them off.   The ONLY cards i recommend closing are accounts that charge you an annual fee, and only if you feel that the fee isn't justified by any savings or perks you get for that annual cost.  (i.e. I have a Virgin America Visa Card. Annual fee is $49. But it also gives me 1 free Comapanion Flight a year, so i'm basicly paying $49 for a airline ticket once a year, To me its worth keeping.)

Once you have a handle on the debt that you have incurred try to keep it in check by not charging anything to cards that you don't have a plan in place to pay for. My Rule of thumb: If you can't pay off ALL of your credit cards with the cash you have in your checking and savings then you are living beyond your means: its time to reign in your spending. 

Good luck 

what does it mean if credit karma said that my score is too limited?

Mar 12, 2014
Thin File
Helpful to 14 out of 14 people

i would assume that it means that yo have what is called a "Thin File"  meaning that you do not have much reported.  If you don't have credit cards, an auto loan or mortgage then their is nothing to report. 

Check your credit report. Annualcreditreport.com for a frree copy from each of the CRA's. 

Look it over and see what is reported.  Then go from there

How can I pay off my credit cards in full, but at a lower amount?

Feb 12, 2014
Helpful to 13 out of 13 people

I misRead the post. 

I apologize for the earlier reply. It makes no sense to the post. 

Yes if your in the position to negotiate. Try it. Try an offer and compromise letter  you can find templates on line. I found that they would settle for 50 to 60% of the balance back a few years ago.  If you haven't had any contact with them in a while be prepared to re-open the account. But if your ready to pay them off it's not an issue. 

Get any agreement in writing before you send any money. 

Always return Reciept registered.  

In fact all contact with creditors should be in writing. Never talk to them on the phone. They can and will say anything. But they are lousy at taking notes! 

How do I find outstanding debt that would not qualify me to purchase a new home

Jul 14, 2017
Take a look at you real credit reports
Helpful to 11 out of 11 people

AnnualCreditReport .com is the only site where you can get free copies of your actual credit reports for free once a year. 

If there's anything negative in your reports it will show up there. 

Be aware that many mortgage lenders don't use FICO scores but have internal scoring depts that provide there own scores. 

Should I pay off these 6.75 yr old credit cards??

Mar 12, 2014
No contact?
Helpful to 16 out of 17 people

if you have not had any contact with the CC co's then let a sleeping dog lie. 

If you have had contact with them, that is a different situation.  The 7 years is counted from the "Date of last Contact" so if you contact them it resets the clock.  If you have been in contact with them them try an "Offer and Compromise" but be prepare to pay a substantial amount to settle the debt, Generally 50 to 60%.  If your not able to do that then you might try a payment plan. 

All contact should be in Writting. Never talk to them on the phone. 

Before you send them any money get a written agreement as to what action is to be taken and make sure that you get them to agree to removing the negitive reports from your Credit Report as part of the settlement.

Good luck!

Utilizing Credit Cards to Build Credit - WITH NUMBERS!

Jan 27, 2014
Helpful to 21 out of 23 people

you typically have 21 days to make your payment from the end of the cycle. i.e. statement closed on the 5th. 

to make sure my payment is always on time, I have e-bill sent to my Ebanking accout. I have it set up to pay the minimum payment 5 days before the due date.

generally i will go in and schedule another payment so i can pay more of the balance off.  But if you don't at least the min payment will be paid and you won't incur any late fees or have a missed payment.

another good idea is to use the card only for things you will be paying cash for anyway, Gas, Electric bill cable tv etc.  you already have this in your budget to spend so you are using the card to spend money you were going to spend anyway.

Does refinancing my auto loan(to save money) negatively effect my credit score?

Jul 08, 2016
First, do a little home work.
Helpful to 15 out of 16 people

Check with the lender on the original loan about early pay off.  many have fees associated with paying the loan off early in order tomake up for lost interest.  often, these fees will be more than you will save on a new loan. Also realize that the vehicle was used as collateral for that original loan, The blue book on that vehicle may not be high enough to use the car as collateral on a new loan if the new loan is for more than the current value of the car. 

as to the effect on your score, there will be a new inquiry on your report, a pay off of an older account and a new loan on your report, so initilally you will see a hit to your score,  lowering it for a few of months, once you start making the payments then your score should rebound back up.  not knowing what else is on your report, it's hard to guess what the over all effect will be in the long run.  

Good  luck

What is the ideal number of credit cards to have for a high credit score?

Feb 12, 2014
Helpful to 15 out of 16 people

If you don't have home or auto loans and need another line of credit. You should try a personal loan for a large purchase. 

Even a couple of thousand for a new computer or something like that will help. Be sure you can do an early payoff so you can limit the interest you pay. After that you can ask for a personal line of credit. You pay nothing until you use it. But it shows as available credit and it's available in as part of your emergency fund. 

How do I cancel a credit card without affecting my credit score?

Mar 21, 2015
don't close accounts.
Helpful to 14 out of 15 people

Don't want to use the account anymore. Cut up the card and don't use it.  It will continue to report in your credit report for 7 to 10 years and a positive even if you don't use it. Teh lender may close the account for lack f use in a few years but that isn't counted as a negitive against you. So there is never any good reason to close an account that has a zero balance and doesn't cost anything to help your score.  If there is an annual fee then Close that account but open another one first so you can replace the loss to your Available Credit.   You can never have "to Much" credit. 

in answer to Sandrock20

If it's an account that you did not open, and the account is actually helping your score, Then I'd take advantage of that and open a couple of new lines of credit, Helping your available credit before contesting the bad account and putting a fraud alert on your credit report.  Since it is getting paid regularly it has probably  been reporting to the wrong credit report.  The bad guys usually don't pay the bill. Estimates are that as much as 25% of credit reports are reporting info to the wrong files.

What I need to do to get my credit score up?

Mar 17, 2014
Helpful to 39 out of 45 people

You'll have start from the ground up. Just like an 18 y.o.  

You Probably have a relationship with a bank. Go in and talk with a branch manager. Explain what you're trying to do, Create a credit rating because you've been living debt free. 

You may have to start with a secured card or one with a low credit limit. Then down the road another card. Then maybe a small loan.  

Educate yourself through forums like this and learn what it means to manage your credit.  You already have the skills. The same principles that you learned to manage to live debt free apply to how you manage your credit. 

Credit cards in particular need to be used as they were intended. A tool so you need not carry cash. Not a way to live beyond your means. 

Great credit comes not from having a lot of money,  it's how you manage it. 

Good luck. 


Mar 12, 2014
Helpful to 8 out of 8 people

Check all 3 CR's,  if it is showing up on any of them file a dispute with the CRA's. Ask for a Validation of the account.  You can do this online for free on the CRA's website. 

Good luck!

I applied for the secured c.card that this site recommended for me and was denied

Feb 21, 2014
CC's pay for this site!
Helpful to 8 out of 8 people

All the cards on this site is what pays for it.  So it is always encouraging you to apply for a card through them. I personally have been on this site for over a year and have been able to raise my score from low 500's to over 700 in a year and a half. I now have 5 cards.  None of which I got through this site.

For your first cards when rebuilding your credit, go where they know you.  Not literally but figuratively.  Try the bank or credit union where you have your checking and savings accounts first. Go into the bank and speak to a rep in person. Be honest with them and let them know you are trying to improve your credit score.   A Secured card attached to an existing savings account is your best bet.  Just make sure that you have a good record of not over-drafting any accounts first.  Also, since they already do business with you they may not do a hard inquiry on your credit report. You can ask when you are applying if it will generate a hard inquiry, they should be able to tell you.

I have read several accounts of people applying for new accounts recommended on this site. I stayed away from them.  I worked with my bank first, got my first card there. Then opened an "Emergency Fund" savings account with a Credit Union, then applied for a card through them,  In the last year I have not been denied once.

Hard inquiries stay on your CR for 2 years, but they have a low impact on your over all score. try to keep hard inquiries under 6 and don't apply for a new credit until one falls off.  Once your score goes up this will have less impact on your score and will be less of a factor.

Hope this helps.

Good Luck!

Utilizing Credit Cards to Build Credit - WITH NUMBERS!

Jan 27, 2014
Helpful to 8 out of 8 people

REALITY CHECK!  you may be able to figure out the cycles that you cards use to report to the CB's but don't depend on it as a way of calculating when your score will change.

For instance, I have 1 card that only reports once every 2 months or so and never on the same day. another only reports when i have a balance due over $1000. then doesn't report again until its at zero.  but then all the past months unreported will be updated at the same time.

Also realize that almost every financial institution uses a different algerithium to figure out you score. So what affects one score may not another.

As a rule of thumb, use your card wisely, keep your utilization low and pay on time and your score will go up.  it just takes time.

how do i add my auto insurance

Aug 24, 2016
Cost of living
Helpful to 18 out of 20 people

Insurance, like utilities and rent  are not considered "credit" but cost of living expenses.  These items are not reported on your credit report unless you fail to pay and the item is sent to collections. 

Insurance companies do use your credit score in evaluating you for your rates.  A better credit score represents that you are more responsible , thus you get a better rate on insurance.

Hope that helps.

how to i get in touch with creditors to pay off all the amounts in my account

Jan 11, 2015
Get a copy of your credit report
Helpful to 18 out of 20 people

It will list the creditors and their mailing addresses and phone numbers.  I suggest always contacting in writting and never by phone. You  want a paper trail when dealing with collections.  

Read up on how to deal with this kind of situation in the Articles and Blogs here on CK  theres a lot of info that can help in your situation 

Good luck 

Credit Karma thinks I have a mortgage. I don't. What is going on?

Jul 24, 2016
get a copy of your actual credit report
Helpful to 7 out of 7 people

go to AnnualCreditReport .com  There you can get 1 free copy of each of your reports once a year.  Get one copy of your report.  Save the other 2 for later in the year so you can check for changes later.  look over your report and see whats actually on it.  The verification questions often have erronious info in them to see if you actually are who you say you are.  

Even if there were a mortgage on your report and someone stole your identity to get it, you wouldn't have a right to it.  It would have been obtained illeagally and would become evidence in the case you would be building against the bad guys.

hope that helps

Results 1-25 of 2674Results per page: 5 | 10 | 25Page 1 of 107   Previous | Next