A big thank you to all the advice I picked up from this board - because I just got approved for two cards this week (and first unsecured cards ever) - Citi Double Cash and Amazon Prime Rewards Visa (after recon with Chase)!
A bit of backstory: I defaulted on two private student loans back in 2010, 2 years after I graduated, which tanked my credit... not that I knew anything about credit scores back then. And then I had two small medical bills ($150 total) go to collections in 2012, unbeknownst to me (large hospital group never even sent me a bill!). Up until 2015 I had no idea about this because I had never checked my credit reports until then. As soon as I found out about those, I paid them in full - unfortunately they are still stuck on my report for a while, but at least they show as paid. My score jumped up about 40 points after paying those. I had also tried to get a loan for a programming bootcamp through a couple lenders with zero success in late 2015, so I was feeling pretty hopeless financially at that point. In February 2016 I tried applying for an unsecured card through my bank, but no luck with a score around 580. I was able to get a secured card with a $300 CL through my bank. So for the last year I have a perfect payment history on that card (and PIF every month), and leave a small balance so it doesn't report at 0% utilization. My score has slowly climbed as I've kept on top of that card, and in September I was able to get a $28,000 car loan (1.9% interest) - also perfect payment history on that loan. Anyway, about two weeks ago I signed up on here to see my real Fico scores (instead of Fako's on credit karma... not to slam them though, because I've made a lot of headway rebuilding my credit using that app). So two weeks ago my Fico 8 score was 664 across the board, and I really wanted to get an unsecured card, not to mention something with higher than a $300 limit (try reserving a car rental with that). I've been researching what cards I would want rewards wise (and some I still want I know I have no chance of getting right now), but both the Citi DC and Amazon were calling my name.
So, ever since getting my car loan, I've been getting a lot of card offers in the mail, most of which I just chuck in the trash because I'm only going to get a card if it has good rewards, and the ones I've been sent aren't very good. Which brings us to last week, when I got the pre-selected to apply invite for Citi DC. I wouldn't have thought that I had a good chance to actually be approved, becuase from reading on here, most people had scores in the 700s to get approved, but the offer had a set APR and the opt-out language (which seems to be a positive indicator). So I decided to bite the bullet and apply. Of course I applied at something like 2:00 am on a Sunday night/Monday morning last week, and didn't get a straight denial, but got the page saying they needed verification or something. Then, probably from some combination of sleep deprivation and excitement, I decided I might as well apply for a second card... The Chase Amazon Visa. I got the 30-day message (which seemed positive given what I've read on here about Chase cards), so I had a little hope. So Monday morning rolls around, and I got an approval email from Citi for the Double Cash!!! So I was pretty happy at this point. However, I called to check status on the Chase app and got the dreaded 7-10 day message. I then tried calling for recon (but I called the wrong number the first time and let it go to lending and basically was told it was a no go). So I was a little bummed. On Saturday, after reading many more posts on here, I decided I might as well try calling the Chase backdoor number and try for recon one more time, but wasn't actually expecting success - I wasn't even sure they were open on the weekend). So I spoke to a really nice rep, who asked me several questions, and had me explain the derogs on my credit report, and then put me on hold several times for about 15 minutes total, and then came back and told me I was approved!!! So I was extremely happy, I got both the cards I wanted, albeit not super high SLs - $1100 for DC and $500 for Amazon, but I don't care, it's enough for my needs (and I just really wanted the 5% back on Amazon purchases since I spend a lot of money on there). What surprised me most was that Citi approved me because those defaulted student loans - yeah, they were through CitiBank initially - I would have thought for sure I'd be blacklisted. So anyway, I'm really excited I was able to get both those cards, and just a big moment for me because I've spent the last year and a half really trying to clean up my CR and getting my score up, and finally qualifying for my first unsecured cards ever is a big deal for me. Plans now are to garden for a year, by which point those student loans will finally fall off my CR and that should help my score a lot. In a few months I'll probably try to get my secured card graduated to an unsecured card, but only if my bank will do a SP to do it. Long term goals now are to get my scores higher, first to 700 and then next step 750 at least, and eventually get to the point where I can qualify for the other cards I really want - Amex Premier Rewards Gold; and Barclaycard Arrival+ or Capital One Venture, and maybe Chase Sapphire.
tl;dr: Less than optimal credit, but have been rebuilding for a year and a half, and was approved for Citi Double Cash and Chase Amazon!!! It's a big achievement for me to get my scores high enough to get both these cards.
By the way... My first Chase card was a $500 Amazon (and was part of the first set of apps in my rebuild). 6 months later I app'd and was approved for a 5k CSP. I now have 13k and 14k cards with them a couple years into my rebuild. Also, Chase auto-CLI'd Amazon a few months after opening it.
Congratulations! I don't think I'd get DC for a while. I burned city 16k.... BUT i'm making my last 2 payments and finally debt free. What I don't get is, it was charged off 2 years ago still reporting but not as a coll acc.
Yeah, sadly it can take 7 years for baddies like that to fall off your report. My student loans will finally fall off at the end of the year - it's a long waiting game though. But don't be discouraged - I just got approved for DC and those loans still show as chargeoffs on my report. Just chip away at things while you can, and whatever credit you have left, do your best to stay on top of it. Your score will improve over time. I wouldn't have thought I'd be approved for that card either, but here I am! You'll get there! And paying off your current debt is huge!!! That's a big accomplishment, so congrats on that!
Welcome to MyFico!! And Congratulations!!! Keep rebuilding and keep up the great work!!