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Question By
ArtRevu

6 Contributions
13 People Helped
FICO 0-758 in less than 6 months
During & after a divorce many years ago my credit was ruined by my ex. He applied for cards at his new apt using my info without my knowledge. Internet wasnt as used back then so was unaware of much til it was too late and lost my home to a predatory loan.
I never even considered wanting to rebuild credit, instead opted for Paypal & bank debit cards and put no one else on my accounts. I paid as I went along, curbed shopping and lived debt free til I was able to buy another home with cash swearing I would never let anyone mess my credit again and never allow my home to be in any debt jeopardy as a home is our place on this rock and should be our strength & security.
5 yrs later I was considering some home improvements and curious about how living debt free for 13 years would affect any credit history. I found I had no credit history, good or bad, but if I were to ever want an equity or other type of loans in the future that it was time to generate a credit history.
My intentions were not to get a card and spend it into debt. I was already disciplined by using my debit cards into not going beyond what I had in the bank and to keep total balances paid off so I wouldnt generate any interest charges. Also I wasnt willing to apply for any card that required an annual fee.
I applied for Capitol One Platinum, was approved for $300 and began using it like a debit and within a month was generating a positive credit history and scores began to show and grow. Initial score was 650 that grew to 675 and then 686 , 712,739,758 over the subsequent months, over 100 points in less than 6 months.
Offers began to open up and next was a DiscoverIT chrome with instant approval for $1000 and raised my score on TU from 686>712 in a month Experian score went up to 758 & Equifax jumped to 739
These were the numbers and increased credit lines I was looking for , yet continuing to pay as I go and to keep utilization mostly at 0-1% with spikes for a day or two when using card for bills that I would pay regardless to credit or budget, only by using credit cards to pay typical bills, they began showing on my credit report and now were helping my FICO
Many financial blogs suggest having 3-4 cards and keeping low utilizations so while I waited 3 months between my first two cards, I decided to risk possible hits and go for one more card.
Shopping around I found in blogs and comments that Chase had good deals but they also went further into the past than credit reports revealed. A man wrote he had a negative encounter with Chase 20 yrs ago leading to a charged off acct when he was young but now he had good credit and saw a recommendation for Chase when his FICO was 740 but was denied based on his old Chase 20 yrs prior. That was good info for me as I recall my ex had a Chase acct that he had put my name on 18 yrs ago so I decided NOT to even apply for anything with Chase, to avoid any rejection or FICO hit.
I began reading up on American Express Blue and called up about their '0' annual fee and rewards programs and decided on the one that associates with Amazon and bonus rewards. I was instantly approved and given a limit of $4,000
My goal is 800 and lowered interest rate offers. For now, its nice to have $5400 credit available for emergencies but if I began to go over my monthly budget I would still get involved with higher interest rates. Instead I continue to pay off as I go along - making several payments a month before due dates of all three cards.
My FICO however on Equifax took a hit with latest card dropping score down to 695 - based on having 3 cards and the limit - maybe because I applied for last 2 cards in same month instead of waiting a few months for the 3rd card. Its ok though as I was told if I continue as I have been keeping low utilization and paying in full each month that my score will rebound.
Meanwhile Transunion has gone up to 712 and Experian has gone up to 758 I suspect its as info gets caught up with listing and merging that these two may dip a month or two as well before the 3 rebound.
So for now, even though I receive offers that are 'very good' I am resisting the temptation to apply for a 4th card which would complete my card portfolio of having 4 cards.
Also I have found that factors like hard inquiries which stay on file for 2 years are something to avoid and also to dispute when pulled without permission.

Sears is guilty of pulling credit based on your name alone if you had past accounts when at the checkout I was going to pay with my Capitol One and the associate asked if I had a Sears card and I laughed and told him not for years. He said that was okay but when paying he tried my name instead of my Cap One card/ I found out after seeing a hard inquiry which I am going to file dispute on. With HI's remaining on a CR you have to have given them permission to pull the report and shouldnt allow them unless you are 99% certain of entering into an agreement with them.
I had 3 total done w/o permission or by trickery- Not worth that free bottle of Pepsi or 10% off first purchase if by doing so, allows them to do a HI ~! Better also to research & compare fees and interest rates before applying for credit or loans and to resist applying when not actually seeking alternatives or additions to your portfolio. I have 7 inquiries, 4 which are acceptable , 2 were added deceptively & 1 was pulled entirely without my permission when talking to Quicken Loans who transferred me to One Reverse Mortgage even though as I was NOT looking for one but asking questions about difference between line of credit and equity loans. That rep was trying to push the OMR on me but I told him that at that point, which was same month i got my Cap One that my credit scores were not yet registering on CreditSesame, Experian or CreditKarma so I did not want him pulling my report. I said I could send him a screenshot if he liked but he said that wasnt necessary. End of the call I told him I was not going to apply for a ORM and was going to wait a year before considering an equity loan or buying a new home. That should have been sufficient yet a HI appeared on my report so I have that now in dispute.

Guarding our credit is guarding our future. While I am building a positive credit history now and obtaining creditworthiness which is good for emergencies or even some opportunities, I wont allow myself to fall into debt that is hard to get out of.

So yes, one right way to raise scores over 100 in less than 6 months is to
-pay as you go - in full when possible ~dont spend over your monthly income
-pay early or on time ~only pay minimum as last resort- The faster you pay off, the less interest you will have to pay ~leading to lower rates later on.
-live with means
-resist shopping sprees~divide your needs over wants~focus on your needs, save up for wants

The more responsible the more creditworthiness will be extended. Keeping low utilization shows you are trustworthy. Better to store up and save your credit for emergencies, larger purchases such as a car or home and once those needs are secured or met, credit can be used for a much needed vacation one day or as back up during illnesses.

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