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09-05-2012 07:46 PM
Hi guys! I need as much help as possible to rebuild my credit! Please, any input/advice would be greatly appreciated! I plan to buy a home in about a year, and need to get my credit right. Eventually I want to close my credit cards and open new ones with better interest rates (American Express, Citi). Whatever I need to do! Please help guide me! I also guess that I would need to enroll in a credit monitoring service, and would like to know which one(s) you all recommend? I pulled all 3 credit bureau reports, and would probably need to see where I stand with my score. Where should I purchase this? Here is what I have on my report, Please help!!!
Bank of America Balance 5503 CL 7500 date opened 03/2008 date closed 05/2011 Acct closed by consumer, max delinquency 120 days 06/2011
BMW Financial Services Balance 0 High Balance 27,812 date opened 01/2008 date closed 04/2012 late 30 days x2 08/11, 02/11
Capital One Balance 887 CL 1050 date opened 03/2000, max delinquency 60 days 12/2010
Macys Balance 0 CL 100 date opened 01/2000 date closed 09/2011 max dlinquency 60 days 09/2011
Gap Balance 0 CL 100 date opened 05/2005 date closed 02/2011 closed by credit grantor max delinquency 120 days 04/2011
Merrick Bank Balance 1953 CL 2100 date opened 12/2007 late 30 day 02/2011
Express Balance 0 CL 1300 date opened 11/1999 date paid 03/2010 late 30 day 03/2010
Victoria's Secret Balance 207 CL 100 date opened 12/2001 date closed 01/2011 unpaid balance charged off
The rest of my credit is good. I have several other credit cards in good standing.
09-06-2012 08:14 AM
NO! Don't close them. Your APR is 0% if you PIF. Clsong the CCs won't eliminate the APR if you still have a balance. Plus opening new CCs to replace the ones you closed will tank your scores.
Yes, a CMS is important to have. Aside from pulling FICO reports whenever you see changes, I recommend a CMS like USAA's or EIDT. Check out the CMS Guide stickied in General Credit Topics. Just ignore all of those scores and advice since none are FICO-related.
Is BofA a CO? Or was it brought current following the 120-day late? If a CO, I recommend paying in full, then GWing them later. You could go months sending them PFDs without any luck and if you are planning to buy a home, you need to put as much distance between the payoff and the home purchase. Your lender will require you to pay it off if a charge-off. If current, then keep paying throwing in extra to get the balance down.
BMW - I'd do nothing. By the time you app for a mortgage, those 30s won't be hurting a whole lot, if at all. Plus any other baddies beyond 30 will certainly trump the two 30s...in other words, if you remove those 30s tomorrow you aren't apt to see any FICO change.
CapOne - if current, keep paying and aim to PIF before the mortgage (assuming it's open).
Macys - I'd wait. Again, the other 120s and COs trump these 60s.. Plus there's a risk they'd delete if you send a GW and that can hurt AAoA. It's one of your oldest.
Gap - send a GW asking for deletion.
Merrick - if current, send a GW. Pay down the balance.
Express - if open and used within the past several months, then send a GW.
VS - send a PFD. If after a couple attempts fail, then PIF and GW.
09-06-2012 09:35 AM
Thank you SO much for your reply. You have no idea how much I appreciate this. I am not going to close (my old accounts) any time soon, I just wanted to do it eventually. Due to the fact that I have so many with high interest rates. I only listed my negative accounts. I also have a few credit cards that are in good standing. I also have a few direct loan student loans that were lates (120 days or so) and I wanted to know what I should do about these? I didn't know about the lates so I was going to call and ask them, I had thought they were deferred.
B of A- what is a CO? It is not a charge off or collection, It's a closed credit card account that I am paying off, and there is a balance. I have an agreement with them to pay a certain amount per month until it's paid off.
BMW- This is a paid off car loan. You recommended to do nothing? If i GW then this wouldn't help me?
CapOne- this is current, and also do you recommend GW?
Macy's- You mentioned to wait. You also don't recommend GW or delete? How will this hurt and what does AAoA mean?
Express- It's a closed account, can I still send GW?
VS- This is a tricky one. I thought this account was closed, it wasn't so they kept charging me per month for lates. Eventually, they closed it at my request and I was in the process of talking to customer service to adjust the balance but it was never done. How do I handle this now? I do not owe 200 as stated and charged off. I owed less than 100.
For the GW letters, do you recommend sending via email, fax, or snail mail? Also, how long do they have to respond, and all changes would be automatically updated on my credit report? As for CMS, do you recommend pulling my official scores first from this website so I know where I stand? and do you recommend scorewatch???
09-06-2012 10:08 AM
Unless there's a fee to keep the cards open, I'd leave them open. The APR doesn't matter because you aren't paying interest on $0 balance accts. Just PIF monthly after using them. You can also call and ask for an APR reduction. But always be in the practice of paying it off monthly. The reason you'd want to leave them open is because closing them will remove the balance and CL from util calcs. So, if you care carrying balances on your open accounts (or closed showing a balance), then util will increase and your score can drop. Also, closing them will start the 10-yr clock. Roughly when the 10 yrs approaches or is hit, then the accounts will delete and that will likely have a negative impact on AAoA and your score can drop.
GW the SLs.
BofA - When an acct goes bad, you'll see 30, 60, 90-day lates, etc. Eventually they'll CO it. They can still own the debt and report a balance. Once it's paid or sold, then they'll mark it as a paid CO. Chances are it would be a charge off with 120 days. Even without the CO mention in the comments, the 120-day late is scored on par as a CO. I'd still PIF ASAP and GW later.
BMW - there's a risk they'll delete the entire TL instead of removing the late if you mailed a GW. You wouldn't want that to happen and it could hurt your FICO. Plus the 30 really isn't hurting in relation to everything else. I wouldn't do anything. I would consider it after all of my other baddies went away and would only consider it if it helped my length of history (meaning it's deletion).
CapOne - you could GW it, but the late removal won't likely result in any score change at this point because of the other baddies.
Macys - same thing. the 60s don't hurt in relation to everything else. Plus there is a moderate risk they'd delete. This account is 12 years old. AAoA is the average age of all of your OC accounts, whether opened or closed, good or bad. It's an average age calculated from the ages of your OC accounts. FICO rounds down the number to the nearest whole number. So let's say as an example your AAoA is 6 years and this 12 year old account is deleted and that results in AAoA dropping to 5 years. Your FICO score could drop. So, the late would be gone but you lose points out of the deal. Plus if the Macys is your oldest revolving then your FICO could drop even further. IMO, not worth the risk. I personally would risk it if it were among my worst-reporting accts, but you have some work to do first.
Express - exact same as the above. Not worth the risk. They could delete and score could go down. Plus a 30-day late at this point isn't hurting.
VS - if they still claim $200, then call a supervisor for the CC and ask them to explain it. If still at odds, then send a PFD for the lesser amount as a settlement. If after a few attempts fail, then call and get a settlement offer in writing for the lesser amount and pay that way.
I recommend starting the GWs using the address(es) on your CR first. If after a few attempts then expand it out to fax, calls, e-mail, 3rd parties like planetfeedback, smoke signals, etc.
They don't have to respond. Most won't. Pull your CRs very frequently to look for changes. I'd personally give them 30-45 days before sending another GW.
Focus on any myFICO report for score changes. Also recommend a CMS from somewhere to pull your reports frequently (doing this will save $$$ over time if you pull frequently). Just ignore any score from any non-myFICO CMS as well as the advice. None offer FICOs.
09-06-2012 01:25 PM
Thanks for the wealth of information. For the credit cards/accounts that you dp not recommend a delete because of age of account, would it be okay for me to dispute via credit bureau?? Or would this be the same thing and be detrimental to my credit report/score?
If I PIF the accounts, and it reports as 0 balance, would I still need to continue to use the cards? And if I did use them but pay in full, will the interest rate still apply to what I used?
For my VS account, they have previously offered to settle. Would I negotiate the pay for delete with the collection agency or do I need to call the credit card company? I believe when I called previously, they said they didn't have the account and I'd need to speak with the other company. What do I do if they accept paying for lesser amount but won't delete?
If I subscribe to Scorewatch, can I trust it? For example if I put in things that I do with my credit, it will tell me what will happen to my score etc. Or does it not necessarily correlate to what will actually happen? I.e if I delete a certain account or pay it off my score will increase/decrease etc??
09-06-2012 06:57 PM
I wouldn't do anything whatsoever to those accounts mentioned. If you were 100% baddie free, then I'd consider a GW. Only dispute inaccurate stuff.
Just use the cards every 3-4 months just to keep them open. Buy a cup of coffee and PIF. With the exception of a couple of terrible cards (like First Premier), if you use the CC, pay in full before the due date, you'll have $0 in interest.
You negotiate a PFD with whomever is reporting. If VS is reporting, initiate the PFD process with VS. If the CA is reporting, then the PFD request goes to the PFD. Never call in a PFD request. Keep it in writing. If they don't accept the PFD offer, then try sending the PFD again. If after a few attempts, just pay it off (if you settle, get it in writing first).
I've been a paying SW subscriber for 5 years. I've never had any issues. SW provides 2 EQ FICO reports per year with one you must use when you first subscribe. Along with the 2 reports your first year, it also provides monitoring services for EQ only for certain changes only. Be sure to read the SW Guide found stickied in the myFICO Product Feedback board. It will alert you fairly quickly for added accounts on EQ, added inquiries on EQ, increased balances on EQ, and accounts changes to EQ, and a few other things. It does not alert to dropped accounts or dropped balances. With each credit alert it will give you your latest EQ FICO. There's not much happening in my report now, but in repair mode, I used to get 5-6 credit alerts monthly w/ a new FICo score each alert. Sometimes up to 2-3 per week. If lots were happening. You can also get score alerts. If nothing is triggering a credit alert your Eq FICO is monitored for changes once per week. So, if nothing is happening on EQ, then at least you'll get an e-mail saying nothing changed or you would get an alert for the new score. Score alerts are dependent on your target score setting. ALWAYS set and reset your target score after getting an alert or after you buy a new report.