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Any credit geniuses out there?? Credit Inquiries, Utilization, "Incorrect" Derogatory Marks- HELP!
Hey everyone!

WARNING: I’m new at this so forgive my ignorance!

So after years and years of paying off bad habits from my 20s, I wiped my slate to blank and raised my score from 539 in May 2016 to 690-716 (depending on which score you believe) in April 2017. My payment history is 100%, utilization is at 6%, age of accounts is WEAK as my oldest is only 1 1/2 years old (so nothing I can do there). I have two main questions: (1) I wanted one more account- per recommendations from many sources- so I applied/was approved for a Citi card this week. This will bump my available credit to just over $10,000 (I had zero credit in May 2016), so looking forward to my utilization dropping further and having more payment history. The inquiry DID knock my score down about 7-9 point and I am ****ED! haha. But I hope that will be short term. Am I wrong there?? Did I screw myself here?? My hope was that the more unused available credit along with 100% payment history would outweigh the inquiry hit in the longer term. (2) My only derogatory marks are medical expenses (my appendix burst and had no insurance- I don't advice doing that, haha). It's around $3,500 total BUT it's one collection agency and it's broken up into THREE separate collections, so my report shows i have THREE derogatory accounts even though it is one original source from one incident (Cedars Sinai Hospital) and one collection agency. I will be able to pay this $3,500 off at the end of the summer but I was looking to apply for a car loan before then, so I don't know what to do. Can I try and get them to lump these three listings into one? Can I dispute/explain? It's blatantly listed that all three are the same account #, same creditor, and same collection agency listed three separate times.

Forgive me for my long post! I gave up YEARS ago on even THINKING I could have financial hope, but I'm really excited at the improvements I've made in a relatively short time, and now I am just OBSESSED! Thank you all for your time and advice, and best of luck to everyone out there!

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1). Total credit limit isn't part of FICO scorings, it's only for VantageScore3 here you get from CK. Tho yes it will reduce your overall utilizations but it dose nothing for the individual utilizations, and you only have 6% utilizations, so more credit won't really negate the scoring effects from inquiry/new accounts and lowers your average age of accounts. Yes, the score drop from inquiry/new accounts would only be temporary, usually will recovers in 3~6 months depending on your particular profile. I wouldn't worry about score drop from inquiry(s)/new accounts as they are necessary evil in getting more credit, not saying you should randomly apply for 15 credit cards but as long it suits your particular financial needs and benefiting you in the long run? So be it.


2). Are those three collections have same 3.5k balance on each or they add up to 3.5k? That might be the assertion of "inaccuracy" you can dispute under. Or you can try go thru the original creditor, see if they willing to recall the collections if you pay them directly. Paid collection wouldn't necessarily better your scores. 

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Have you taken the time to read the articles here to take advantage of the chance to learn how credit works, which is the purpose of Credit Karma?  I did and wish I had this knowledge many years ago.  The articles here are not complex and provide information you can use now and for the rest of your life. You can learn how to negotiate a 'pay for delete' agreement, how to use the statute of limitations on collections to save additional money. how long items remain on your credit report and  how to dispute wrong iinformation.

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