Have been trolling these forums for a little while now and I just wanted to say wow! The information here is amazing! My credit score took a beating before I squared my life away and joined the Marine Corps. My parents passed away while I was in college and I went spend crazy and unfortunately, that coping mechanism scarred my bank account back then and my credit report now! I have paid off a lot of my delinquent debts and am completely caught up on payments. I no longer have any credit cards in my name but managed to buy 1 car in Aug of 09 which I have never been late on. 1 unsecured personal loan which has always been paid on time. about 7k in student debt that is currently being deferred but i was late a few times (as many as 120 days once) and a bunch of closed credit lines that were paid or sent to collections and then paid. I now have two collections accounts posted. One for $38 which I have sent a PFD letter for and the other from a bank i had which did not close the account when i asked and instead racked up fees which I am now dealing with and will most likely end up in a PFD. Essentially the only thing that is killing me is my incredibly splotchy payment history and I am not quite sure what I can do about that! I am lucky enough to have a friend who was willing to help and put me as an authorized user on his amex which helped me out a bit, but its still not great! As of right now my scores are as follows:
Equifax- 609 (MyFico)
Experian- 599 (Fako CCT)
TransUnion- 623 (MyFico)
Any advice you guys could give you be awesome! I am looking to push these up to a place where I could get approved for a home loan in the next year and not have astronomical rates! Appreciate the help in advance and let me know if I can provide any more information that would be beneficial!
Welcome to the forums and thanks for serving!
I'd suggest reading the following:
Credit Scoring 101 - great for knowing what is in your credit score and to see how your score is impacted.
What Steps Do I Take - great for learning the repair process.
and Example letters - PFDs, GWs, DVs, etc.
First off, draw a line in the sand and vow t never ever be late again. I know it's in the past, but a new late can damage your FICO score for the full 7 yrs it reports, especially a 90 day or worse late.
You're on the right track for the PFDs. In the future, if it is a CA that's collecting, send a DV first, even if you know it is yours. A DV does challenge a debt, but it also establishes the correct balance by which to work off of and also establishes ownership (some CAs sell the debt but forget to delete).
If you have no open CCs reporting (including closed CCs w/ a balance reporting), then adding one will certainly help your FICO score. I'd start with a secured CC. A secured CC is almost guaranteed approval, you won't have to waste inquiries on a non-secured CC, and is also a way for you to determine the CL, and not the CCC. IMO, the CL doesn't matter. If you deposit $$$ to get a $5000 CL, there's no difference per your FICO score if you went with $200 only, for example. It's how you utilize that balance in relation to the CL that counts. You'll see gains if you add a couple of CCs like this.
For the lates, send a GW letter.