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Help with my credit score and advice on obtaining credit 1.5 years after bankruptcy
I filed for bankruptcy and in Jan 2012 it was finalized, since then I have been meticulous in making sure I never miss another payment and trying to get my credit raised but my credit score never seems to go up... I am clueless and need some help. I have a premier mastercard that I prefer not to have but keep it for emergencies, I've had it for 15 months. It has a credit limit of 700.00 and right now a balance of 19.00 on it. I have a visa nfl rewards card that I have had for 14 months, the credit limit is 500 and the balance is 25 dollars. I have a walmart credit card that I got so that I could get my free fico score, it has a credit limit of 200 and it has a balance of 30.00. I keep a small balance on each card so that it looks like Im using them but really only use the visa. The only other thing that I have on my credit report is a auto loan, Ive had it for about 8 months and pay on time. Ive never missed a payment with anything. The only bad thing that I can say I have is 20 inquiries. A lot were from when I purchased my car, then immediately refinanced it for a better rate. I think while shopping for a vehicle I got around 10 inquiries. A couple inquires were from the visa that I have, I asked for a increase on the credit limit but was denied. The rest of the inquires were trying to apply for better credit cards so I could get rid of the mastercard. I always get denied for increases and for new credit card offers even though I have low balances and no late payments since the bankruptcy which was 16 months ago. From everything Ive read I don't understand how my score has not improved, credit karma shows that it is a 570, its been around a 570-580 for the last 16 months. My fico score shows a 562, I am just not understanding this? Nothing is on my credit report that shouldn't be, there is a doctor bill for 120 that I didn't pay because Im disputing and the bankruptcy. My credit is actually better a month after filing for bankruptcy than 1.5 years later even though I make payments on time and keep my balances low. I know that I make enough money to qualify for some of these credit cards. I even went as far as to call up a couple credit cards and specifically talk to a agent and explain my concerns with them... nothing helps. This is becoming a problem because the mastercard is costing me over 400.00 a year in fees alone, not including interest! I don't feel as though I should close the account since its a older account that I have and in good standing but I really want a different card or a increase on my visa so I can use just one card. Also I would like to purchase a house by February of next year but cannot do it with my fico so low... Please help with any advice that you have.

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1) Do NOT keep a balance on any credit card because you're paying interest on that, which is defeating the wise use of credit.  Pay the balance in full every month and use the cards occasionally.  Do not have to use them every month.  The $400 in annual fees on that Mastercard would make me want to get rid of it despite the "hit" on my credit.

2) What is killing your FICO is the bankruptcy, which will report as a negative "public Record" on your credit reports for a total of 10 years. That doesn't bode well for credit increases or new credit cards.  When bankruptcy ads say you get a "fresh start" it really means you have to virtually rebuild credit from scratch.   

3) Save up money towards a house but, again, the bankruptcy will generally prevent you from getting a mortgage at any decent rate, if at all.

I do suggest you read the articles on this site so you can get a better understanding of how credit works and how to build a good credit score.  I have a degree in accounting and have found the information on this site very helpful.  That is Credit Karma's sole purpose-----to help people to understand credit so they can have it working for them.

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