From 1984 until 2000 I had a perfect credit file, with over 40 accounts paid-as-agreed on everything from a $1000 VISA, a $75k boat and a couple of houses. When I bought my third home in 1999 I was making 250k annually and my score was over 800. But in 2001 my start-up technology company hit the skids when the tech bubble burst. Venture funding dried up and we suffered a long, slow, painful death that completely wiped me out. Things started out being paid late, then eventually I charged off the several cards in 2001 and 2002 and had to sell the house in 2003. My scores tanked to 500-525. I did not file BK.
I managed to find senior level employment again in late 2004 and have slowly built my way back. First I received a $500 First Premier Card, then a Capital One Card at $500, then a couple of HSBC cards, $1000 and $1700 CLs respectively. Using those silly cards I managed to get the scores up to the 625-635 range last fall and then qualified for a $450k mortage (with $250k annual income and no other debts.) But for the most part, we have been cash-and-carry. Our cars were paid for before the bust.
Today my scores are TU 649, Exp 647 andEquifax per MyFico is 652. I ignored the charge-offs, and they are ignoring me. I have a $30k bank line of credit charge-off, a $12k credit card charge-off and a $10k credit card charge-off, all assigned to collection agencies and reporting as such on the 3 CBs. A few letters from time to time but no calls, no harassment, no judgements, 5+ years later. I haven't applied for anything but the mortgage since 2005 so I only have three inquiries on each CB. And I have no jugdements.
I need to dump the First Premier for sure and maybe even the Capital One. I just want to get my score above 675 so I can at least get in to the B-tier auto financing category. Of course, I am already planning on $10-15k down on a car, so that's not an issue. Can I qualify for better cards with higher limits in this scenario or are my "past credit card crimes" going to kill me? Do I pay the charge-offs or let them go?
Do a little reading here to find out the ins and outs of different CCC policies, such as no BK's, no lates, no charges offs etc. The credit card forum is a great place to start. It appears to me, you would qualify for the Wamu, Amex Delta and Juniper cards. But, do the reading before you start, you don't want to waste your inquiries on something that would be an automatic "denial" due to your history.
What kind of history do you have with auto loans? Any repos? When you go to the dealership, they will pull what's called your auto enhanced fico scores. These can sometimes be higher than your normal fico scores and will determine what interest rate you will pay.
Honda financial pulled my auto enhanced fico score from TU which was almost 20 points higher than my regular TU fico score.
Auto enhanced ficos are a reflection of your past payment history on auto loans. FYI
Well over a dozen auto loans with banks, Toyota etc, all paid as agreed. The only time I was ever late on a car was for a 9 month period in 2002, but I brought it current and paid it perfectly another year and then paid it off.
You should be ok with your scores the way they are. Your auto enhanced fico might be 10-20 points higher that your regular fico. Call the dealership that you are buying from and ask who they pull from.
Your opinion is consistent with what I have been told on the auto scoring. I just looked and I actually paid that car loan as agreed for 20 months after the baddies. Never any repos or anything like that. Back to the card questions, any idea on the impact the charge-offs will have on card-scoring? I would think it would kill me dead with AMEX.
Not true at all. I have seen others on this forum with situations similar to yours get the AMEX Delta Gold. BKs are a no-go for AMEX but Liens and Judgements have not posed a serious threat to applicants of the Delta Gold. Give it a try!