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Established Contributor
SoulMaster
Posts: 993
Registered: ‎11-08-2011

HOW TO: From BK7 discharge to 700 in 24 months or less!

[ Edited ]

If you're going to follow THIS guide, please DO NOT get a SECURED/STORE card.  This guide is designed with patience in mind, and pays off over time.  Every single person (there have been hundreds) who has followed this plan to the letter has a 700ish score INSIDE 24 months.  Most people who take it upon themselves to "cheat" or do one of those-"but I thought it would help"-things wind up stuck with low scores, low limits or worse.  This guide works, just be patient and give it a chance.

 

UPDATE: On 7/15-ish I adjusted this guide to remove the Orchard Bank References... they were out of date now that HSBC no longer offers the Orchard Card.  - Now that I'm using CreditOne in it's place, there may be confusion between CreditOne and CapitalOne.  Please read carefully so you don't accidentally make a mistake.  - Cheers!  -SM

 

Hey all, I wrote this for a friend who went through a BK recently... it outlines the steps I took.... I'm @ 18 months post BK in 3 days and expect that when my Zero + 9% balances report this month I'll be somewhere between 675 and 685, roughly 15pts away from my 700 goal with 6 months to go.

 

Any how, it's written as "you" and for someone living in NV (OneNevada CU reference), but this method really does work quite well:

 

 

ETA: Posters note:  I am sure there are other ways to do this, and differing opinions about secured cards, balances, etc.  I'm not saying that this is the ONLY way to rebuild after BK7, what I'm saying is that this plan WORKS.

 

**********************

 

Steps to rebuild after BK - Goal: 700 FICO 24 months or less after BK.

 

Pre-Step 1.  Sign up for a Scorewatch subscription from MyFico.com so you can track your progress (http://www.myfico.com/Products/Products.aspx) It's the middle one, and is $14.95/mo.  Do NOT pull your second SCORE POWER report until month 6.  Set this up on your debit card until you get your Orchard Card (see below).  Note: The score analyzer on MyFico doesn't seem to work if you have a BK, but it's fun to play with.  You can pull a fresh, full score power every 6 months if you like.

 

If you want, once you have Score Power, you could check your FICO on your TU report as well, but don't monitor it, just pull it once.

 

There are NO other sites that you can pay for that will give you a true FICO score.  They all sell FAKOs and are even more worthless than FICOs.

 

Fixing your credit report (in other words, making sure that all IIB accounts report as IIB):

 

1. Pull a copy of your 3 credit reports from www.annualcreditreport.com.

2. Run through with a pen and make sure that ALL accounts that were included in bankruptcy are noted as:

a. Zero Balance

b. Included in Bankruptcy

c. Current (not "default/derogatory" status"

3. For any accounts that do not meet all of the criteria in #2, file a dispute "Included in Bankruptcy" and "Incorrect Balance"

note: Disputes need to be done with ALL 3 Credit Reporting Agencies(CRA), see far below on how to do this. Include a copy of your discharge letter once you have it. You can include multiple inaccuracies in the same letter, but if you do that, make it a list/spreadsheet rather than paragraph format.  Mail the 3 letters to each CRA (addresses below) CERTIFIED MAIL, RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED (CMRRR).

4. Once you get your receipts back, wait about 30 days for the results.  For anything that wasn't updated to the correct info, get the creditor info from your report and mail a letter to them, including ONLY the account for that creditor.  Send this letter CMRRR as well. Example:

5.a At the same time, send a "Method of Verification" letter to the CRA, including a copy of the result sheet they mailed you, with the questionable accounts highlighted.  Example: http://www.gimmelaw.com/legal-form-credit-repair-method-of-verification-demand

6. Wait 30 days from the day you get the receipt.

7.  At this point the bad stuff should all be pretty much gone (or reporting correctly), even if it's not, it's probably best to just leave it alone.

 

 

Rebuilding/Reestablishing credit (some of this is at the same time you're doing the stuff above):

 

1.  15 days after you get your CMRRR receipts back from step 3, above, apply for a CreditOne card.

a. http://www.creditonecards.com/pre-qualification.php

b. You do NOT want a SECURED version of this card.  If that's all they'll offer you, decline it, wait a couple months and try again.  Alot of people might tell you that secured cards are OK, but they aren't.  From the evidence I've seen, it's more difficult to swtich from a secured card to an unsecured than it is to go from a bad bank (like Credit One or First Premier) to a better unsecured.  Worst case scenario, get a secured card from a Credit Union/Bank that you are 100% CERTAIN will graduate to an usecured version in 12 months.

 

2.   The DAY AFTER you receive and activate your Credit One Card, go to a OneNevada Credit Union branch and open a $1000/1year CREDIT BUILDER loan (if you do not already have a savings/checking with them, you'll need to open one of those, too. (www.onenevada.org) - (If you do not live in Nevada, find a different credit union/bank that offers a Credit Builder-type product).

 

3.  Use your CreditOne Card for <10% of it's balance/month and Pay In Full(PIF) as soon as you get the bill.

a. In other words, if your limit is $300, do NOT charge more than $29/month on the card. EVER.

b. If there is an activation/processing charge, that's you're first month's purchase.

c. PIF the day you get the bill, not the day it's due.

d. An easy way to do this is to set up your MyFICO Scorewatch subscription to use your Credit One bank card instead of your debit card.

 

4. 5 months after activating the card from Step 1, get a Capital One card.

a. https://www.capitalone.com/ - This link will take you to the pre-qualifier, which is a good place to start.  Say you have average credit.

b.  Get the QuicksilverOne Rewards card for Average Credit (it has a $39 AF)

c. Capital one will enroll you in the Credit Steps program on this card, watch for the letter, it's an auto CLI @ 5 or 6 months.

 

5.  Change your purchasing patterns:

a. Charge $1 or so on the CreditOne Card every month and PIF when the bill cuts (just to keep it reporting)

b. If you did step 3.d, change the MyFico auto-bill to your new CapitalOne card.

c.  Charge up to 30% of the limit of your Cap1 card and PIF every month when the bill cuts.

 

6.  When you get your Credit Steps Credit Line Increase (CLI):

a. That month DO NOT use your CreditOne Card

b.  Pay your Cap1 card down to a $10 balance BEFORE the statement cuts. (you can do this online, make sure you leave $10 on your card… it's important.)

 

7.  11 Months after opening your CreditOne Card (6 Months after opening the CapitalOne card, after you get your CLI):

a. If you did NOT burn Discover Card in your BK, Apply for a DiscoverIT card (www.discover.com), take whatever counter-offer they give you. (www.discovercard.com)

b. If you DID burn Discover, Do step 10 right now, then move to step 8. Or, instead of applying for a DiscoverIT, app for the Walmart Discover, which is issued by GE Money Bank. (http://www.walmart.com/cp/Credit-Cards/632402)

 

8.  When your CreditOne Card has a Zero Balance (and is reporting that way), it's time to cancel the card.  You should have had it for 11 months by now.  Cancel it immediately before the end of month 12 to avoid the annual fee.

 

9. It should now be 12 months after you got your Credit Builder loan, which means it's over.  Put the cash in savings and go back to OneNevada(or wherever you got it).  If they will let you get a $1000-$2000 UNSECURED 2 year loan, do that.  If not, get a new Credit Builder loan, this time $2000 and 2 years.

10.  2 months after you get your Discover:

a. Apply for a Barclays Apple Financing Visa (don't worry, you don't have to buy anything Apple when you get it).

b.  http://store.apple.com/us/instant_credit

 

 

You should now have the following cards in your wallet and be about 12-13 mo out of your BK:

1. Capital One (7 months old)

2. Discover (2 months old)

3. Barclays Visa (Brand New)

 

If you've done everything right, your FICO should be between 650 and 680.

 

It should also be time to pull your reports from www.annualcreditreport.com again.  Look for / dispute anything inaccurate.

 

Use your credit cards sparingly over the next 6 months, charging small things on them and paying in full each month.  Do NOT exceed 30% of your total available credit at any time.  For example… if you need to charge $900 for something, and you have 3 cards that each have a $1000 limit.  Pay off all your cards, put the $900 on one of them, and don't use the other two that month.

 

Always PIF the day the statement cuts, never charge anything that you couldn't just pay cash for.

 

To maximize your score, Pay 2 cards to ZERO, BEFORE their statements cut and pay the third card down to <10% of your total available credit BEFORE it's statement cuts.  This forces 2 cards to REPORT zero balances, and the third to REPORT a small balance, which is the optimal credit formula.

 

Once you've had your Barclays for 6 months (and not a DAY sooner!) you may apply for additional credit if you like.  If you are eligible to be a member of Navy Federal Credit Union, join them and app for the nRewards Visa + NavCheck (Overdraft Line of Credit).  If not, you might want to ask OneNevada (Or your credit union) if you Q for one of their cards with the BK on your record, or you could get a Walmart Discover or something… There are several cards / loans to choose from at this point, pick one you like. Note: Chase / AMEX / Citi will NOT approve you with a BK reporting, don't even bother.  Also, you might want to avoid anyone you included in your BK for a couple more years.

 

Please note, you do not HAVE to apply for anything.  The cards from Discover and Barclays will grow with you over time, so instead of applying for anything, you might want to call Discover (which you've now had for 8 months) and ask them for a Credit Limit increase.  You can do the same with Barclays too, since it's 6 months old now.  You may notice inquiries on your credit reports when you ask for CLIs, but these aren't bad since you have limited your inquiries for the last 18 months. (you may see a slight score dip, but it will come back in 3-6 months).

 

Don't apply for anything else for the next 6 months… just let time do it's thing.

 

In FEB 2012 pull your reports from annualcreditreport.com again, look for/dispute any inaccuracies.

 

In April of 2014, it will be 2 years after your BK discharge.  If you pay down all your balances but one BEFORE the statements cut, and pay that one down to <10% of your TOTAL available credit BEFORE the statement cuts, you'll have an optimized credit score.  It should be 700 or so, plus or minus 15 points.

 

Keep using credit wisely and your score will only go up from where you are.  As a note, I have $3550 of available credit.  I use my Discover card to buy gas, have a couple of auto-payments going to my C1 and my Barclays, and NEVER carry a balance.  I pay cash/debit for everything else.  Also, I normally pay my cards to zero BEFORE the statement cuts, so they report no balances.

 

 

NOTE: Always apply for credit on a Tuesday or Wednesday around noon.  If you are DECLINED, immediately call for Reconsideration: http://ficoforums.myfico.com/t5/Credit-Cards/Backdoor-Numbers/td-p/408066

 

 

The dispute process:

Helping Yourself

Step 1: Tell the consumer reporting company, in writing, what information you think is inaccurate. Include copies (NOT originals) of any documents that support your position. In addition to providing your complete name and address, your letter should identify each item in your report you dispute; state the facts and the reasons you dispute the information, and ask that it be removed or corrected. You may want to enclose a copy of your report, and circle the items in question. Send your letter by certified mail, “return receipt requested,” so you can document that the consumer reporting company received it. Keep copies of your dispute letter and enclosures.
Your letter may look something like the one below.

Dispute Sample Letter:

http://www.creditinfocenter.com/forms/sampleletter5.shtml

Consumer reporting companies must investigate the items you question within 30 days — unless they consider your dispute frivolous. They also must forward all the relevant data you provide about the inaccuracy to the organization that provided the information. After the information provider receives notice of a dispute from the consumer reporting company, it is required to investigate, review the relevant information, and report the results back to the consumer reporting company. If this investigation reveals that the disputed information is inaccurate, the information provider has to notify the nationwide consumer reporting companies so they can correct it in your file.

When the investigation is complete, the consumer reporting company must give you the results in writing, too, and a free copy of your report if the dispute results in a change. If an item is changed or deleted, the consumer reporting company is not permitted to put the disputed information back in your file unless the information provider verifies that it is accurate and complete. The consumer reporting company also must send you written notice that includes the name, address, and phone number of the information provider. If you ask, the consumer reporting company must send notices of any correction to anyone who received your report in the past six months. You also can ask that a corrected copy of your report be sent to anyone who received a copy during the past two years for employment purposes.

If an investigation doesn’t resolve your dispute with the consumer reporting company, you can ask that a statement of the dispute be included in your file and in future reports. You also can ask the consumer reporting company to provide your statement to anyone who received a copy of your report in the recent past. You can expect to pay for this service.

Step 2: Tell the creditor or other information provider, in writing, that you dispute an item. Be sure to include copies (NOT originals) of documents that support your position. Many providers specify an address for disputes. If the provider reports the item to a consumer reporting company, it must include a notice of your dispute. And if you are correct — that is, if the information is found to be inaccurate — the information provider may not report it again.

 

Equifax

P.O. Box 7404256

Atlanta, GA 30374-0256

 

Experian

Dispute Department

P.O. Box 9701

Allen, TX 75013

 

TransUnion

Consumer Solutions

P.O. Box 2000

Chester, PA 19022-2000

I am not an attorney and none of what I write should be construed as legal advice. For legal advice please consult an attorney.

Starting Score: ~470 preBK(8/2010)
Current Scores as of 3/15/14 All 700+. Last CR pull from a lender(housing) was mid-score 729.
Goal Score: 700+ - reached.
Established Contributor
aussiesareforever
Posts: 740
Registered: ‎10-04-2010
0

Re: How to rebuild your score after a ch7 BK

[ Edited ]

Thats SM. That is a nice write up to help many with questions about rebuilding post BK. From my somewhat limited observation on this site, I think many people try to apply for too many cards too early post discharge. I started with one CC- Capital One and didn't apply for another line of credit for a little over three years.

 

My only comment is point number 3

 

3.  Use your Orchard Card for <10% of it's balance/month and Pay In Full(PIF) as soon as you get the bill.

a. In other words, if your limit is $300, do NOT charge more than $29/month on the card, ever.

b. If there is an activation/processing charge, that's you're first month's purchase.

c. PIF the day you get the bill, not the day it's due.

d. An easy way to do this is to set up your MyFICO Scorewatch subscription to use your Orchard bank card instead of your debit card.

 

I agree with most of it except that the FICO scoring system likes to see a balance reported on at least one card. A zero balance will mean you are not using your card at all. If this is the only card obtained post BK, it would likely be better to have a less than 10% utilization reported. The card can actually be used for more than 10% of the CL as long as most of the balance is paid before the statement is generated. Some argue that using ones available credit is motivation to the lenders to increase the credit limit but I'm sure that varies with different banks.

 

Thanks again. I think this post will be very helpful!

BK in 2008, after making very stupid financial decisions.

Barclay's Apple Financing Card ($6400) --- Capital One Quicksilver ($10,000)---GEMB CareCredit ($5700) --- AUFCU ($10000)--- Walmart ($5000)

FICO Scores: TU 735 EQ 709 EX 740 (Feb 2013, all pulled by lender)

New Member
Michie12
Posts: 3
Registered: ‎04-25-2012
0

Re: How to rebuild your score after a ch7 BK

Thank you, this is good information and it was easy to read and follow :smileyhappy:

Contributor
Misshopeful72
Posts: 185
Registered: ‎03-05-2012
0

Re: How to rebuild your score after a ch7 BK

Several of my Debts that were included in my bankruptcy say derogatory. So your saying they should say current? Is there any case law or something that I can say to the credit bureaus to make them fix that?
Thanks
EQ 480 02/27/12- EQ 617 05/02/12
TU 500 02/27/12 TU 585 05/01/12
All scores are myfico
Established Contributor
SoulMaster
Posts: 993
Registered: ‎11-08-2011
0

Re: How to rebuild your score after a ch7 BK


aussiesareforever wrote:

Thats SM. That is a nice write up to help many with questions about rebuilding post BK. From my somewhat limited observation on this site, I think many people try to apply for too many cards too early post discharge. I started with one CC- Capital One and didn't apply for another line of credit for a little over three years.

 

My only comment is point number 3

 

3.  Use your Orchard Card for <10% of it's balance/month and Pay In Full(PIF) as soon as you get the bill.

a. In other words, if your limit is $300, do NOT charge more than $29/month on the card, ever.

b. If there is an activation/processing charge, that's you're first month's purchase.

c. PIF the day you get the bill, not the day it's due.

d. An easy way to do this is to set up your MyFICO Scorewatch subscription to use your Orchard bank card instead of your debit card.

 

I agree with most of it except that the FICO scoring system likes to see a balance reported on at least one card. A zero balance will mean you are not using your card at all. If this is the only card obtained post BK, it would likely be better to have a less than 10% utilization reported. The card can actually be used for more than 10% of the CL as long as most of the balance is paid before the statement is generated. Some argue that using ones available credit is motivation to the lenders to increase the credit limit but I'm sure that varies with different banks.

 

Thanks again. I think this post will be very helpful!



I agree, that's why I said to pay the OB "as soon as you get the bill".  Once the bill cuts, OB reports, so it will report the smaller balance.

 

Also, there are varying opinions around the web on whether or not "high balance" calculates into scores.  My personal opinion is that some scoring models use it, some dont.  Moreover, this was written for someone who isn't necessarily going to be as anal about their cards as we are on the forums here... so advising not to charge more than 10% on any given card (ever) is a great way to make sure they don't go over 10%.

 

Finally, this was also written for someone who wants to get their score up after BK, but doesn't have an emergency fund, discipline, or high enough income to pay off the cards in the event of job loss or other catastrophe, so keeping the balances low (perpetually) is a very good idea.

 

-SM

I am not an attorney and none of what I write should be construed as legal advice. For legal advice please consult an attorney.

Starting Score: ~470 preBK(8/2010)
Current Scores as of 3/15/14 All 700+. Last CR pull from a lender(housing) was mid-score 729.
Goal Score: 700+ - reached.
Established Contributor
SoulMaster
Posts: 993
Registered: ‎11-08-2011
0

Re: How to rebuild your score after a ch7 BK


Misshopeful72 wrote:
Several of my Debts that were included in my bankruptcy say derogatory. So your saying they should say current? Is there any case law or something that I can say to the credit bureaus to make them fix that?
Thanks

IIB is officially a derogatory status (it's bad).  But you don't owe the debt and you aren't late anymore.  I disputed mine w/ IIB, Zero Balance, Not Late and most of them got cleared up.  There are still a couple that are reporting IIB/Derog (or even charge off/derog, if before the BK) on mine, but since they're well before the BK date, I don't find it worth my time to try and keep fighting.  Notice the "give up" clause in my OP.

 

Also, Derogatory and Delinquent are 2 very different things.  I have zero delinquents across all 3 CRAs, but several derogs (IIB).  You are NOT delinquent on anything that's IIB and it should be fought tooth and nail until it's fixed.  USAA Credit Monitoring has a quickie page that reports how many "delinquents" you have, if you happen to use USAA's CM tool.

 

-SM 

I am not an attorney and none of what I write should be construed as legal advice. For legal advice please consult an attorney.

Starting Score: ~470 preBK(8/2010)
Current Scores as of 3/15/14 All 700+. Last CR pull from a lender(housing) was mid-score 729.
Goal Score: 700+ - reached.
Established Contributor
SoulMaster
Posts: 993
Registered: ‎11-08-2011
0

Re: How to rebuild your score after a ch7 BK

BaBAM! EQmyFICO=677 18 months and 5 days post discharge using the above plan!

 

For those of you who say "secured" or "don't worry about your balance" I just want to remind you that this plan is for people who are coming out of bankruptcy.  If they are anything like me, I lacked the discipline to "buy only what I can afford to pay cash for".  The plan above helps wrangle that in while rebuilding.  Also, it's a nice little ego boost everytime you see your scoreWatch tick up... helped to keep me on plan anyway!

 

-SM

 

PS, I'm changing the title of the thread to remove some ambiguity.

I am not an attorney and none of what I write should be construed as legal advice. For legal advice please consult an attorney.

Starting Score: ~470 preBK(8/2010)
Current Scores as of 3/15/14 All 700+. Last CR pull from a lender(housing) was mid-score 729.
Goal Score: 700+ - reached.
New Visitor
prettyjustice00
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎05-15-2012
0

Re: How to rebuild your score after a ch7 BK

I wish I would have read this before. I'll be 2 years post bankruptcy in November

 

I have Orchard, just hit 12 months, Capitol one 12 months, capitol one secured it hits 12 months, next month. and Besty Buy rewards hits 12 months this month! all annual fees have been paid lol this month

 

Orchard $300 limit

Capitol One $750 limit

Capitol One $200 secured limit

Best Buy $ 300 limit

 

all are over utlized. I plan to pay them all off by September.

Im going to start pulling my credit reports now. to see how bad my scores are....and go from there...

 

I feel with the small credit limits of these cards Im sorta stuck.....

New Contributor
Melissalyn17
Posts: 56
Registered: ‎05-08-2012
0

Re: How to rebuild your score after a ch7 BK


SoulMaster wrote:

Misshopeful72 wrote:
Several of my Debts that were included in my bankruptcy say derogatory. So your saying they should say current? Is there any case law or something that I can say to the credit bureaus to make them fix that?
Thanks

IIB is officially a derogatory status (it's bad).  But you don't owe the debt and you aren't late anymore.  I disputed mine w/ IIB, Zero Balance, Not Late and most of them got cleared up.  There are still a couple that are reporting IIB/Derog (or even charge off/derog, if before the BK) on mine, but since they're well before the BK date, I don't find it worth my time to try and keep fighting.  Notice the "give up" clause in my OP.

 

Also, Derogatory and Delinquent are 2 very different things.  I have zero delinquents across all 3 CRAs, but several derogs (IIB).  You are NOT delinquent on anything that's IIB and it should be fought tooth and nail until it's fixed.  USAA Credit Monitoring has a quickie page that reports how many "delinquents" you have, if you happen to use USAA's CM tool.

 

-SM 


Should the accounts included in the BK still show the late payments that happened right before the BK? Our lawyer had told us to stop paying them. Also should cards that were paid off before the BK not be showing up as IIB and should not be counted as derogatory?

Established Contributor
SoulMaster
Posts: 993
Registered: ‎11-08-2011
0

Re: How to rebuild your score after a ch7 BK

[ Edited ]

Your lawer probably told you that "it doesn't make sense to pay the bills" when you're about to file, or that "the courts frown on people paying bills immediately before filing and may throw out our BK if you pay them".  But that's beside the point.  Yes,  the lates will show until your filing date, with a KD on your discharge date.

 

However, if they are reported as IIB, those lates won't matter much, if at all.  

 

If you included the paid off cards in your BK, then they were included in the BK and are IIB/Derog.  If you didn't include them, the creditor most likely closed the account on their end (Account Closed by Credit Grantor), which is also a derog.    

 

Also, if you didn't list "paid off" revolving accounts as creditors in your BK, you may have inadvertantly committed bankruptcy fraud*.  I'm pretty sure that the law says you have to list "all creditors", not just the ones you owe money to.  I'll check with an attorney friend, though I'm also pretty sure that if you used an attorney, he/she wouldn't have let you commit BK fraud.

 

The simple version is, anything before your BK (and included in the BK) doesn't matter much once the BK is there.  Positive accounts that were closed prior to the BK will help you, but only a little.  what REALLY matters is  the date of your BK and everything that comes after it. 

 

-SM

 

*I checked with my friend, it's against the law, but there doesn't seem to be a punishment for it unless you paid some creditors immediately before BK.  Basically, you don't get to choose who gets your last $'s before you file.

I am not an attorney and none of what I write should be construed as legal advice. For legal advice please consult an attorney.

Starting Score: ~470 preBK(8/2010)
Current Scores as of 3/15/14 All 700+. Last CR pull from a lender(housing) was mid-score 729.
Goal Score: 700+ - reached.

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