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Moderator Emeritus
Tuscani
Posts: 6,182
Registered: ‎03-29-2007
0

Success Stories and Encouragement

Please use this thread to share how the knowledge you have obtained here has helped you turn your credit around! I am going to share the first story which was posted by member Nemblett!
 
If you are new, welcome! Please start by reading the Scoring 101 thread:
 
 
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After a recent post encouraging a low-scoring forum member to be hopeful, several people have asked me how I got my FICO score from 420 in April to the 600s today. Hard work, patience, and diligence, as well as asking many questions on this forum, have been my salvation. Not to say I haven't slipped – I got so excited a few weeks ago when my FICO hit 668, and applied for a CapitalOne Auto Loan and a Best Buy card (it was my birthday), and my score started slipping downward because of those new inquiries. I need to not beat myself up over those decisions, but oh well, you can't change the past.

To set things up, I have had a contentious relationship with credit for the last few years, barely holding onto some subprime credit cards before their unmentionable fees overwhelmed me and led to the cards' closure. I never really relied much on credit cards because I could never qualify for more than $700 on one, although I did get a $1500 Best Buy card a few years ago, which was closed/charged off after I couldn't keep up with payments. I used to have a Dillards, Marshall Fields, and Sears card, but they all got closed due to delinquent pay patterns as well. These were all reporting well, as long as I made minimum payments each month, but I had too many, and the many minimums maxed me out, and I was never making any progress on the principal. Now the only card I have of any kind of revolving credit is my Target card.

I also have moved four times in five years for employment opportunities, and each one dried up almost as soon as I arrived, usually due to downsizing. This constant moving placed my already tenuous financial status into a constant state of disrepair. It also meant that I was leaving a trail of unpaid utility bills in my wake, which eventually got sold to collection agencies. I even had a "pay to stay" rental situation which shows up as an eviction/public judgment from 2003 on my credit reports.

Last summer (like a lot of people), I found myself having to choose between gas and other payments. Unfortunately, gas prices meant I delayed making my car payments. I started to get behind, and once I did, I never recovered. I tried to trade-in my vehicle for another one, but that just resulted in tons of hard pull inquiries that benefited me nothing. Then I ended up refinancing the car, but even the refinanced amount was too high, with gas prices still in the upper $2s, lower $3s, coupled with the fact that I was commuting 60-70 miles a day, 6 days a week, in an SUV that got 21 mpg tops on the highway (oy). Then I had to move to a new apartment (mine was being turned into condos, so there were all the moving expenses and utility deposits due). So nothing was really working in my favor at the moment.

Ultimately, I had gotten myself into a state of mind a couple of years ago in which I just didn't care about my credit, plain and simple. I figured that my situation was so bad, how could it possibly get any worse? That cavalier attitude led me to ignore important deadlines and settlement offers that would have kept things off of my credit report. It also relegated me to nights where the phone wouldn’t stop ringing for hours as creditors and collectors called over and over again. I resigned myself to always having bad credit and never owning a home, which made me bolder (and somewhat stupider) in my own taunts of the creditors that were calling me. I now know that some of this was due to anxiety and depression, but some was just plain stubbornness.

Then in March, my 2003 Ford Escape was repo'd, and I all of a sudden discovered just how important good credit was, when I couldn't even get into a used car for less than $3000-5000 down, and those were subprime loans in which I was paying the bank $2000-3000 to approve the loan, BEFORE the cost of the car. This became the tipping/turning point for me, and it opened my eyes to the seriousness of my situation.

I began monitoring my credit at that point, and was shocked as what I found. I started out around 457 in late March, and after some more attempts to get into a car loan in April, it dropped to the aforementioned 420. I got my FICO Score through the 30-day free trial of ScoreWatch, and then did the same for TrueCredit. I have since subscribed to both of these services, but it was invaluable to have a parallel comparison of all 3 credit report accounts (TrueCredit), as well as the comparison of a FICO score and a FAKO score. As part of ScoreWatch, I became addicted to the FICO Forum, and learned most of what helped me there.

I had let several of my student loans go without applying for deferrals, so they were reporting past due, but thank God not in default yet. There were several erroneous accounts that were not mine, as well as accounts that I had paid, but were showing as still open and unpaid. Far too many collection accounts with unpaid balances.

I called Target and made a payment arrangement with them, just to keep the card open and active, so that it could help me later on if I needed it to, as my sole source of revolving credit and good credit-building power.

The first thing I did was comb through the free credit reports I received (annualcreditreport.com), and mark any accounts I didn’t recognize as mine. Then I found any erroneous late pay notations. I disputed these sets of items right away, and several of these errors disappeared very quickly. Step one should always be getting rid of obvious errors – personal information, addresses you don’t recognize, accounts that don’t belong to you, duplicate reporting, etc.

But I think the most important thing I did to monitor my success was creating an Excel spreadsheet of all of the derogatory items on my credit reports. I had columns for:
• The name of the creditor
• The name of the original creditor (if the account on the report was a collection agency)
• The amount of the debt (even if it was zero – paid off/charge off)
• Date reported
• Expected date it would drop off my credit report (this takes some math and research at times)
• Which credit reporting agencies reported the debt (this was a small detail, but became very important as time went on)
I also made a similar chart that included all of this info for accounts that I had received correspondence about from collection agencies or creditors that had not yet appeared on any credit reports yet – this was to become my reporting prevention list.

These charts allowed me to track what I owed (totally and individually), and monitor when things would start to drop off (and how many). Ultimately, it was a hard look at the reality of my situation. But when I realized that, apart from the student loans – which were now in deferral or the process of being deferred, I only owed $12000 max, it made me realize that this was too low a number to consider bankruptcy.

I made a plan to set aside $100 per week in a savings account to use for credit repair – this amount has taken a bit of a beating because of a settlement with Ford I arranged, but that single settlement (if I paid them 50% of my deficiency amount remaining after the sale of the repo’d vehicle, they would consider it paid in full and remove the repo comments from my credit reports) has actually reduced my total bad credit debt to less than $5000 now! The $100 a week allows me to look at my chart and see what accounts might be paid off completely with $100-300; those accounts I attempt to Pay for Delete – See Tuscani’s sample Pay For Delete (PFD) and Goodwill (GW) letters; they will help you through hell and high water. I did the math, and if I continued my credit repair savings account, it would allow me to pay off between $2000-4000 a year, which meant that after the Ford settlement, I could get all of my bad credit accounts paid to zero (and work out PFD and/or GW plans) within a year and a half. Some sacrifices would have to be made, yes. And the collection agencies don’t like hearing me say this, but I do and I stick with it, “I have drafted a plan to get out of debt by the fall of 2008, and your account is included in that plan, but you’re not the account I am working on at the moment, so you will have to be patient, but you will get your money.”

Part of my plan also involved joining the credit union at my job. Many benefits, not the least of which was automatic overdraft protection for my checking account up to $500. USE WISELY!

I have also created an Excel spreadsheet and chart function that allows me to enter my daily TrueCredit scores as well as my FICO score updates, and it may not seem to be much of an increase daily, but it does continue to go up.

This is more detailed than it should be, and probably not as detailed as it could be, but this has been my journey so far, and hopefully it will be enough of a shock and build enough good fiscal habits that I can keep moving steadily towards fiscal solvency.

Hope this helps.
Super Contributor
MidnightVoice
Posts: 8,158
Registered: ‎03-25-2007
0

Re: Success Stories and Encouragement

Yes Dear   :smileyvery-happy:
 

I never really bothered about my credit, I knew I was paying bills on time and had only a store card and a gas card.  I refinanced my house a couple of years ago and got a very good rate (long history with the company, cut length of mortgage dramatically, got a very low rate).  I was a little surprised at how low my credit score was when I did it, so I thought I should get a credit card to have a real CC on my report, and I was turned down for one.  This was a little bit of a wake up call, so I went and got a CC from my local Credit Union, and kept paying bills on time.  Then last December it seemed as though I might move house, talked to my mortgage company and got pre-approved for a new mortgage and was horrified to find out that after 5 years of perfect payments I still had low credit scores.

 

I then started doing some of the right things (more by guesswork than good judgment) and started disputing that which was incorrect.  Then this board was formed, and suddenly a wealth of information became available to me.  I disputed more, discovered the importance of utilization (it was clobbering me despite the fact I PIFfed all the time), discovered that I hated Cingular, found out what cards I could get because I knew what scores they required and which CRs they pulled, and straightened things out

 

Results – 4 years of perfect payment, EQ FICO goes up about 50 points. 

 

This board opens, and since then – EQ FICO goes up 94 points

 

December 06 – TU FICO 681

July 07 – TU FICO 803

 

EX hates me

 

My version of the secrets of high scores.

1 – fiscal responsibility.  If you spend more than you earn you will never get there

2 – learn the rules.  They are not always obvious (e.g., high util and PIF is bad, low util and carrying a balance better).  Play the game, and if you follow (1) above, it is a game.

3 – watch those inqs, and never get a new cell phone  :smileyhappy:

4 – TIME is your friend

 

The slide from grace is really more like gliding
And I've found the trick is not to stop the sliding
But to find a graceful way of staying slid
Established Contributor
trinigal
Posts: 578
Registered: ‎06-18-2007
0

Re: Success Stories and Encouragement



MidnightVoice wrote:
Yes Dear   :smileyvery-happy:
 

This board opens, and since then – EQ FICO goes up 94 points

 

December 06 – TU FICO 681

July 07 – TU FICO 803

 

EX hates me

 

My version of the secrets of high scores.

1 – fiscal responsibility.  If you spend more than you earn you will never get there

2 – learn the rules.  They are not always obvious (e.g., high util and PIF is bad, low util and carrying a balance better).  Play the game, and if you follow (1) above, it is a game.

3 – watch those inqs, and never get a new cell phone  :smileyhappy:

4 – TIME is your friend

 



I know this board is supposed to be about encouragement but 803??!!!  I'm officially jealous!:smileysad:
 
 
:smileyvery-happy:
Super Contributor
MidnightVoice
Posts: 8,158
Registered: ‎03-25-2007
0

Re: Success Stories and Encouragement



trinigal wrote:
 
I know this board is supposed to be about encouragement but 803??!!!  I'm officially jealous!:smileysad:
 
 
:smileyvery-happy:



I blame this place for it.  Without this place I have no idea what my scores would be  :smileyhappy:
The slide from grace is really more like gliding
And I've found the trick is not to stop the sliding
But to find a graceful way of staying slid
Established Contributor
trinigal
Posts: 578
Registered: ‎06-18-2007
0

Re: Success Stories and Encouragement



MidnightVoice wrote:


trinigal wrote:
 
I know this board is supposed to be about encouragement but 803??!!!  I'm officially jealous!:smileysad:
 
 
:smileyvery-happy:



I blame this place for it.  Without this place I have no idea what my scores would be  :smileyhappy:


I was looking for " don't hate, CONGRATULATE! " 
 
But this answer works as well.
 
I agree, I would not even know what my scores were, or that I have some power to fix them.
Moderator Emeritus
Tuscani
Posts: 6,182
Registered: ‎03-29-2007
0

Re: Success Stories and Encouragement

BUMP!
Super Contributor
MidnightVoice
Posts: 8,158
Registered: ‎03-25-2007
0

Re: Success Stories and Encouragement



Tuscani wrote:
BUMP!


Bumpity Bump  :smileyvery-happy:
 
FICos trending up wards, need 6 more months for EX to improve.
 
FAKOs stuck in stone.
 
Cingular inq drops of Wednesday  !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1   :smileyvery-happy: :smileyvery-happy: :smileyvery-happy:
The slide from grace is really more like gliding
And I've found the trick is not to stop the sliding
But to find a graceful way of staying slid
Regular Contributor
kims
Posts: 212
Registered: ‎06-30-2007
0

Re: Success Stories and Encouragement

First of all a big THANK YOU to everyone that contributes here.  I wouldn't be making this post if it weren't for all of you and your knowledge.  I wanted to share with everyone the results I've had repairing DH's CR.  We began pulling his CRs in February of this year.  The only thing I knew was it was BAD but I didn't have a clue as to where to begin to correct the problem ~ until I found this site!  Here is a quick breakdown of what has happend in just a few months:
 
Homecoming Financial ~ FC as of April 04.  Reporting balance of 92k in Feb07 on all 3 reports.  As of today the balance has been wiped out.  It is being reported correctly on EX but EQ and TU still show pay status as 120 days late instead of foreclosure.  Disputing that at this time.
 
HSBC Auto ~ CO/REPO as of June 04.  Disputed as belonging to his exwife and EQ deleted account.  Disputing again thru EX and TU and have also sent a GW.
 
Bank One/Chase Home Finance ~ GW letter sent to remove 3 30 day lates.  They wrote back asking for more info as they couldn't find the account # in their system.  Sent them what they asked for last week still waiting to hear back.
 
Midland Credit Management ~ $233 balance OC SWB.  Disputed thru CRA's verified.  Sent DV last week.  Got the green card back today.  Hopefully they'll just delete them.
 
IC Systems ~ OC Mann Eye Center $190 balance.  Disputed thru CRA's verified.  Sent DV last week.  Haven't received green card back but account was deleted from EQ last week and today from EX.  Hopefully TU will follow suit soon!
 
Hilco Receivables (CA for Toyota Repo) DELETED
Thornton Financial Services (Dodge Repo) DELETED
Encore Receivables (Duplicate SWB acct) DELETED
NCO Medclear (Medical CA) DELETED
NCO-Medclear (Medical CA)DELETED
MidSouth CB (UNK) DELETED
TX ENT (Medical CA) DELETED
TOYOTA (REPO) DELETED
 
Postive TL's
 
Ford Motor Credit ~ paid/closed never late
CCCU- $500
Home Depot $500
AFCU $1000
 
Here's hoping that we continue to have such good luck in the rest of this process.  DH's FACOs tonight were TU 584 EX 525 EQ 550.  His FICOs from 8/17 were TU 587 EX 620 EQ 584.  I'm hoping that next month when I pull FICO we will see a good size jump in scores.  Also plan on paying down the CCCU and HD cards to 10% and applying for a couple more good CCs.
 
Anywho...thanks again everyone!!  Sometimes when I get frustrated with the process I have to stop and look at all we've accomplished in such a very short time frame.  Y'all are wonderful and this is such a great place for support!
911 Operators....America's Lifeline!
Regular Contributor
belverbears
Posts: 104
Registered: ‎08-06-2007
0

Re: Success Stories and Encouragement

I haven't been on this board too long, but I've had amazing results.  I was a person who never thought my credit could be cleaned up.  I had given up trying to clean it up.   I figured I'd just wait the seven or ten years until information fell off my report and try to start over again.   Due to some medical problems in my life and some other issues my credit report tended to look like something I never wanted to see or deal with.
 
So, I found this board and read everything I could find that I thought could help me.  I decided to try two strategies so I started disputing debts and writing goodwill letters.   Since doing that (and again, it hasn't been that long).  I've had two Providian accounts deleted from my credit report, two judgements deleted from my credit report, and a Capital One account deleted.  I really never thought something like that was possible.
 
In studying all the information here it was like a huge door opened up for me.   One thing I learned is to not keep my credit cards charged up to the limits.  I'm famous for doing that.  If they credit is there, why not spend it?  Well, now I KNOW why not to spend it.<g>  I never knew that spending so much on a credit card could affect the credit score.   Little things like that can mean a LOT!
 
So, my short time here has been so productive, and I plan on staying on this board for a long time to come.
 
 
 
Belver
http://www.daveramsey.com (best financial adviser I ever heard!)
Love never fails......hope is always there.
TU: 569 EXP: 566 EQU: 564
Goal 750
New Contributor
Tavares
Posts: 74
Registered: ‎05-08-2007
0

Re: Success Stories and Encouragement

Good Afternoon Everyone,
 
I am here today to share my progress during my stay here.  I started sad, depressed, lost...I could go on easily but i wont.  I now know enough to guide others all thank you every single one of you on this board.  I have some favorites but i wont list them as it my stir some jealousy
 
I have managed to get rid of 5 baddies(2 CO, 2 Collection, 1 Public Record), and neatly organized my reports one by one patiently.  I only have one late payment on a closed account with providian which they wont remove.  But its a nearly 6 years old late.
 
Begining early 2006 i could not even get a secured Credit Card.  Not because i did not make enough money, but because my credit was so ugly, so bad, they almost called the security guard to escort me out every time.  I started with GW letters and tried to reopen some old accounts at fauld and managed to ged baddies deleted and account broughto current status.  Today I am offered credit lines that I turn down too high for my liking.
 
My Cards:
American Epress Plutinum Charge Card
American Express Blue Cash      $10,000.00
Bank Of America  Visa Signature $18,000.00
Carnival Sea Miles MC                  $15,000.00
Citi Devident MC - Approved, Don't know the limit yet
Dicover More - Approved, Don't know limit yet
*Working on a few others and got rid of my Started capital one.
 
I got married this past Januarry, was able to get a good Mortgage with Chase withing 2 - 3 months following the various advice on this board.  I am working on my Utilization (50% right now).  Hopefully my scores Fico scores will hit 700 jut like my facos, all in the 700's.
 
Lessons Learned:
1.
Be patient, very patient and be nice
2. Don't be afraid of trying a GW Letters or other suggested methods here.
3. Read anything that "Tuscani","Brammy" and a few others post.  Even if its bad hahaha.  just read it Because it will probably increse your score just from doing so.
4. Join "The Sleigh Center" if you can't stop applying. I never needed it, but I love being there.
 
Thank you:
I would like to tank everyone for all their help.
 
Below are my EQ Fico Scores over time.
 
9/13/2007 666  <--- Whats with this number?
9/6/2007 671
8/26/2007 653
7/12/2007 658
6/14/2007 665
6/7/2007 680
4/29/2007 673
4/25/2007 672
4/18/2007 671
4/17/2007 687
3/30/2007 681
3/12/2007 671
3/4/2007 658
2/15/2007 638
2/9/2007 661
2/4/2007 664
1/25/2007 672
1/12/2007 675
1/7/2007 672
1/2/2007 669
9/9/2006 644
7/23/2006 595
 
Good Luck to all,
Tavares
FAKO - EX: 749 | EQ: 769 | TU: 749

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