This will be my first post ever...that I can remember.
So, I have been seriously working on my credit since April 2015. I did a stint with Credit Repair dot com but left them when I saw that they could not help me anymore and that time and my own efforts to clean my history were doing just as well if not better than them. Anyway, I have been lurking here for a long time for reference material. In April 2015, I was around a 538 or so but that was from them and it only referenced one CBR. My next point of reference is in 12/2016 when I got a preapproval from Amex. At the time my scores were roughly 624 (again, only one bureau). I was instantly approved for $8,000. Having a little more confidence, I app’d for a second Amex and only got $1,000. Still feeling pretty high, I applied for USAA (2 cards both $1,000)....oh, forgot to mention, going into the app process, I already had 3 Capital One cards with limits of $1,600, $2,000 and secured for $500....I app’d one more time that night and was approved for $2,000 Chase Freedom Unlimited. My income at the time was about $80,000. Aside from the Amex, I thought the other limits were kind of low but was totally grateful because I never would have thought I would have even gotten that many approvals. Later that month, Capital sent me a pre-approval for the BuyPower card and I took it and after more reading on the forums did the SCT and was successful with VS, WF and Overstock. I would have gotten AT Loft but I did that on my cell and it did not pick up my birthday correctly so they told me I was not eligible and could not try again with them. The following January of 2017, I got a pre-approval for the Priceline Card $1,200 (but they dropped it to $900.00 a few months later). In May, Amex sent me the Platinum card and stated that if I wanted it, just call in and activate. I did. Also, in June of that year, I saw that Navy Fed was now accepting veterans, so I signed up my dad and piggy-backed the membership. I did not know that they were going to pull my credit and did not use that opportunity to apply for anything. A month later, I applied for the Cash Rewards and got a $2,900 limit. At that time, I did not know about the 650 score hype with them. Had I known, I would have waited until I had the 650 so I could have been a candidate for a higher limit....I was at 647. Still, I was in rebuild mode so, again, I was grateful. I held tight for the rest of 2017 and did not apply for anything else. Then, I applied for a loan to consolidate my cards (I did not go on a crazy shopping spree with my new credit, I changed jobs that changed the terms of my employment. I was supposed to be able to work from home but, of course, the Friday I quit my present job, I called them to see how long training would be so that I could adequately arrange childcare until I was at home for good and they told me they were no longer offering that. I had to commute from San Antonio to Dallas every week for 9 months until I could get another job. While going back and forth, I incurred food, lodging and fuel/car expenses every week that they did not reimburse me for. I was spending faster than I was bringing in and the hotels were not taking cash.) and was denied...due to my insane utilization that was about 85%. I opted for their pledge loan and paid some things down...a little. I was done for 2018. I ended 2018 with scores of 623 eq, 660 tu and 662 ex.
The last sat week of November 2018, I decided to get real serious about that utilization so I started paying $25 per card per week in addition to my scheduled payment. I also made chunk payments. I paid off 4 cards in December and 3 in January. I paid down my debt from $20,215 to $10,535 by the end of January. Confidence increasing just like my scores...at least EX 694 and TU 690. Equifax didn’t really want to move. It only increased to 667 where it still sits today. Anyway, I got the itch again around the end of January so I came back here and started researching the boards looking for easy approvals for travel cards and was conflicted between AA and SWRR. Well, decided not to do anything and just said I will garden and wait for my scores to catch up with all of my payments. I had gotten down to about 40%. Then, on 2/11/19, I was having a conversation with my relative who I have been coaching to help her increase her score and she told me she made an application for her daughter for the SWRR card because they were giving 30,000 points and a companion pass after 4K spend. First ever card for her daughter with a $2,000 sl. I recounted my situation, triple-checked that I was under 5/24 came back here again to get a feel of the approval scores, read someone’s post that had a score similar to mine and was in rebuild stage with a 17k approval got up the nerve and pulled the trigger. It spun for 13 minutes. I called Chase to make sure the credit had not been pulled, was told no and to retry. I did and it spun for about 10 secs or less and popped up an approval of $16,700. I took a double-take. That was unbelievable to my senses. Again, confidence building, I decided to take Navy Fed up on their offer to me and kept my fingers crossed I knew I would get something but was truly hoping for the 25k so that I could do a BT for the 0% interest. I got $10,000. I was really annoyed because I review people’s credit all day everyday and I see with my own eyes what people with horrendous credit get from Navy Fed. I tried to recon with no success....3 times. Anyway, I moved $5,000 of my balances so I would not max it out. Was checking my mail from last week that I had left in the garage and saw this letter from Pen Fed. I typically throw their stuff out because when I had checking with them they were too difficult and I never put money in the account because they could never send the debit card, I only kept my savings open. But, today...I took a longer look. I reopened a checking account hoping it would pull credit. It did. My theory was that if I went directly for a card app, it might read as a card app and that might flag Chase to revisit my newly opened SWRR Card and either lower or close it. I came back to the boards for a little more research on approval odds after about 30 minutes I realized it did not matter whether I was approved or not because there was no additional pull. I went for the Power Cash Rewards Visa Signature was instantly approved for $16,000 so I looked over the other cards and looked to see what might be good and decided to go for the Platinum Rewards VISA Signature since the starting limit is at least $5,000. Was instantly approved for $12,000. Based on some of the things I read, I thought I would be denied because of the credit cap. My scores today are 667 EQ, 694 TU and 685 EX. Needless to say, once my BT is complete with NFCU I am going to move most of that to Pen Fed to bring that utilization down. My overall utilization is now 12% with no additional cards being paid off.
Thank you all for all the tips, advice, tricks and overall knowledge. I know my post was long but it’s been years in the making. You all have been with me for my whole journey and you didn’t even know it. For someone that was scared to apply for a store card for fear of being declined in front of my children to obtaining $26,700 total on 2/11/19 and $28,000 total today I am shocked and ecstatic. I have what I want at the moment and more than what I need so I am going to the garden and watch my credit score grow. Thanks, again!!!
Congrats on your credit spree approvals !!!!
Congratulations & Thanks for sharing!! Though the post was long, it really has given me the clarity and insight that I needed for what I would like to accomplish with my credit profile.