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How can I, a DESPERATE student, raise my very poor credit score with some extra money I have?
I have three different scores and they are 485, 472, and 361. I just got my Equifax credit report and the negative accounts are two credit cards that need to be paid, with balances of $397 and $422 - however, $113 and $136 are the past due amounts. The accounts are still showing as active online, but it says they are closed on my credit report. I have not made any payments since January. The only other negative things showing up on my credit report were three separate medical bills that are out for collections for $68, $35, and $32. I do not recognize them, so I disputed them tonight.

I am also $25,000 in debt in student loans from the government and will be borrowing more for the next two years until I finish school. I expect to be about $45000 in debt when I graduate in two years.

However, in late August I will have around $3700 to catch up on debts and stuff in the form of loans from financial aid after my tuition, housing, and utilities are paid up until January when I will again have another extra $3700 for the next semester. I understand these are loans I will have to pay back, but I need to use this money to put myself ahead. What is the best thing to do with this money? Should I totally pay off both credit cards and close the accounts? Should I pay the past due balance and just keep making monthly payments on the rest to build credit? Should I get a secured credit card -- if so, how do I even use that to build credit without risking going into even more debt? If the disputes for my medical bills are not accepted, who do I pay and how do I get it off my report ASAP? What should I do?

Negative Accounts
Credit Cards - $397, $113 past due
- $422, $126 past due
Medical Bill - $68 (being disputed)
- $35 (being disputed)
- $32 (being disputed)

$3700 to pay off debts and use to build credit in one month

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The best thing that you could do is to call the credit card companies and plead with them to wait until you get your money to pay the accounts off, chances are they will not wait that long and the accounts will go to collections, but you should definitely try. I would say once you get your money, first attempt "pay for delete" agreements on the accounts to get them removed in exchange for your payments. If that fails, then pay them off anyway so you cannot be sued for them. Beyond that, don't apply for any more credit if you feel that you will be unable to use it responsibly. If you can trust yourself enough to use a card responsibly, try to get a secured card after you pay off these accounts. I am not sure if it is poor choices that got you into this mess or it is due to your income situation. It sounds to me that you have income problems if you cannot pay off these debts, try to get an extra income, either by getting a part time job or working more hours at the one that you have if you have one.

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