** Sorry in advance for the long read - my sincere thanks if you read it and have input! **
In order to keep track and hopefully get some good feedback, I wanted to start a log. If this is against any terms or whatnot, feel free to delete, but I saw that others had done it and received great tips, so hopefully it'll be OK.
Let me start by saying that like a lot of others that I've read about on here, I got into credit trouble while in my early/mid 20's. Now that I'm approaching my 30's (within a couple of months), I want to get this stuff straightened out as much as possible, as quickly as possible - even though I know that many of my negatives will just require time, discipline, and patience. I have job security, make pretty good money, and would like to someday own my own home (18-24 months, or less). I know that I need to make signficant improvement before I can even consider this.
I've been avoiding my credit scores for several years. I've known by the rejections that my scores wouldn't be great...not to mention the sub-prime financing that I received on my car, almost 2 years ago (which I would also like to refinance, depending on timeframe to improve credit scores).
Regardless, I've started diving into this mess and would appreciate any insight that any of you can provide.
I requested all 3 "free" credit reports and paid for my TU & EQ reports via myfico.com - all on 8/22.
I begin my journey with the following:
TU: 510 - 18 account, 15 derogatory; 105% utilization
EQ: 512 - 19 accounts, 16 derogatory; 122% utilization
** Updated on 02/11/13 - see page 4
Again, if you've made it this far, you have no idea how much I appreciate your time. Any suggestions, particularly on how I should attack any of the baddies that are questionable?
Some general observations that apply to many of the listed items.
Payment or non-payment of debt does not affect FICO scoring. FICO scores the derogs and delinquencies that occur along the way. It does not care, in its scoring algorithm, if a debt remains unpaid, was settled for less than the full amount, or paid in full. Those various debt status designations matter a whole lot to prospective creditors, and could lead to additional derogs reporting, but debt status is simply not a FICO concern.
So your focus, for credit scoring purposes, needs to be on getting removal of the derogs and delinquencies themselves. Unpaid debt gives you the incentive to them to report deletion of the information in return for your payment of the debt. Some will bit on this, while others wont.
Apart from that, if the information is accurate, you are left only with good-will requests for earlier removal, or waiting for their CR exlcusion period to cause their removal due to their own old age. GW requests will almost summarily be trashed unless the debt has first been paid.
Got my ScoreWatch notification today - my 19 point increase was definitely due to Midland reporting a $0 balance vs the $850 balance.
Also, hadn't received a response to my PFD letter to a collection agency assigned to handle a small medical bill ($76), so I called them today. Turns out that they seem to be a pretty small company and the lady was VERY helpful.
She gave me the appropriate contact for their compliance department - turns out that they still had an old address on file, so there's a legit reason for them to delete once it's paid in full.
I emailed and am just waiting on a response.
Hopefully that'll be one more that'll be gone next month. I've got lots of work to do, but it's nice to make some progress!
With the AMEX account it is lowering your score for two reasons. The first reason is that status of the account and the second reason is the balance is over the limit. Have you tried to work out a payment schedule with AMEX to pay it off in full? Also, on the OPTIMA offer see if they will backdate the date open to 10/2000. I have read other posts of AMEX doing this. If they will I would take them up on their offer.
Thanks for your input.
I have worked with AMEX and actually have the second payment coming out today. Although the balance is lofty, I work in a salary + commission job, so I'm trying to dedicate 100% of my commission to paying off AMEX. Hopefully will be by the end of next summer, if not sooner.
As the balance gets closer to $0, I will work with them on backdating the new Optima. Thanks for this idea - that would probably help me tremendously.
... In order to keep track and hopefully get some good feedback, I wanted to start a log. If this is against any terms or whatnot, feel free to delete, but I saw that others had done it and received great tips, so hopefully it'll be OK....
Doing a log worked well for me. Not only did I get lots of good feedback, but I also was able to look back over my notes and remember what I did.
Just got a score watch alert that my score went up to 566! Not buying my report again until the end of the month, but I'm pretty sure that it's a result from the medical collection dropping off - got them to agree to a PFD.
My new Capitalone Secured may be reporting also.
Will find out for sure in a few weeks!
Regardless, up 56 points since 8/22!!! Lots of work to go, but it's nice to make progress.
Hi, Fixit. Might I suggest? - Since you are needing to know what's going on w/ your reports, it might be helpful to have a credit monitoring service that allows you to update your reports every day (see EQ/TU/EX).
When I was ramant on the rebuild I was using freecreditscore to see EX -- True Credit to see TU -- and SW for EQ which led me to pay for 2-3 SW reports each month to see why the score changed.
There are lots of options out there to get a 3-in-1 daily puller - EliminateIDTheft is what I am using now because it's the cheapest FOR ME, as I can pull mine and DH's for 17.95 a month. I think it's 12.95 a month for just one person. This will alleviate any need you might have to pull an EQ report due to a SW alert, and the bonus is you get the other two reports along with it.
The CMS guide here is a good thread to read here that can guide you to your best bet if you do decide to invest.
EX score is still sitting at 566 as of 10/17.
I sent a huge batch of GW letters, so hopefully I can make a little progress there to work to push my score ever closer to the 600 mark.
The good news is that Fico now categorizes my credit profile as "NOT GOOD" as opposed to "BAD".
My new Capital One secured card reported for the first time on 10/01/11, so I hope to benefit from perfect payment history (and as low of utilization as possible) over the next 6+ months.
Thanks for reading!