Hey Everyone! I have done some seriously EPIC dumb credit moves in my life, now I am not young (I refer to myself as an old broad..lol) but I am hoping that maybe I can help someone from doing the same because you are never too old to learn
1. I got scared when I had my first ever CLD (2.5 yrs ago) and went out and purchased a lot (useless crap) and pushed my UTI from 30% to 98% across the board, I was afraid that if I didn't use it I was going to lose it and that takes me to #2
2. I thought that as long as I made at least my minimum payment (always with a little extra) my credit scores would be high, I really thought as long as I made timely payments and never went over limits (so very very wrong on that one..lol) all would be golden.
3. I had made "extra" payments on an installment loan, so my due dates kept getting pushed further and further back (at that time I didn't have a payment due for 11 mos). A well meaning friend advised me to cancel "auto pay" and use that money in other ways (ie..having more fun) and start auto pay back up again when time caught up to the due date..another huge fail!! I could have had that puppy paid off a year ago and paid a heck of a lot less interest. ***
As I have stated in other posts in the last 6-8 weeks now, I have become educated in my credit and have gone from 98% UTI to less then 50% and 1/3 of my CC credit lines (aprox 17 now) are below 30% and 5 are at 0%.
But the biggest thing for me was getting myself informed/educated on what I was doing right (never late) and what I was doing so very very wrong (seriously high UTI)
and I need to give a HUGE SHOUT OUT (YEAH YOU) for all of the excellent posts here. You all have given me not just the education but also the belief that anything is possible..THANK YOU ALL!!!
Edited *** I take full responsibility for all decisions I have made..my friend didn't twist my arm (lol), she just made a simple suggestion and I jumped in with both feet
The Alliant SSL was an eyeopener to me because even though I have poor credit, my mortgage is paid off and no other loans so I figured I was helping my FICO by not having any active installment loans. Oops.
Also learning about the $3 trick for utilization maximization score-wise. That one is also huge for FICO scores dirty or clean.
Lastly AAoA is a big deal -- it's easy to get excited about a new account approval, but if your AAoA is super low, more accounts just delays the inevitable aging FICO boost.
Mine was opening an account that doesn't support autopay... then I got sloppy / stupid / whatever after my mortgage closed, wasn't paying attention to even more important things in life than just my credit, and took a 30D late.
It's sort of a mandatory feature for me now though maybe I could setup a recurring bill payment but meh; I should likely get around to just closing that account since I'm no longer using it for all that it was a unicorn previously (JCB Makurai) but an additional .5% isn't worth the possible screwup for when I wander off the reservation.
Also all my tax issues...
And wearing the numbers off my debit card till I was 36 years old, should've been using even just a solo credit card with autopay and I'd be in a lot better position now. May feel nice being in a cash based existence having cut up one's credit cards (or never having acquired them in my case) but it's not smart financially if you ever need credit: even I can't just pay cash for a house in many parts of S. Cali where I'm at currently, credit is a necessity, to say nothing of the financial advantages of financing currently compared to investment gains.
Auto Pay is my very best friend, I have so many "brain farts" in remembering things and without it I would be in serious trouble! I am so fortunate that I get paid on the first of the month that it is easy for me to use it and know without a doubt my direct deposit will be in the bank the last working day of each month.
I have also wore out the debit card numbers..lol, I have just recently realized the benefits of using (PIF of course) my CCs for regular stuff. I should add..
4. Thinking that if I used my CC for household purchases or gas that it would "look bad" to the issuers and they would CLD me..another fail on my end! Soooo lost cash back & miles opportunities.
Good initial post here.
I think all of us have our credit regrets. Anyone that has found this forum and been a member for more than a few months has learned a ton about healthy credit behavior. These people also have had the opportunity with their newfound knowledge to identify the areas that they went wrong in the past. Some of them are obvious, like not making payments, but others like utilization percentages are not something that the typical (non myFICO forum member) person thinks about every day. Many like the OP think that making minimum payments or more are all that matters to a good credit score. I didn't realize that late payments even could damage credit for 7 years. I always figured that as long as you brought your account current you were good to go. Obviously I was wrong and as a result have come to understand that my scores will suffer for quite a while. It's all a learning game and fortunately those of us that have found this forum are armed with far greater knowledge to make the best decisions than those that have not.
Mine and my husband's was when we filed BK 7 back in 2000. I had worked in the Financial sector, so we hung our heads in shame, my husband is a Jr., it embarrased his father Sr. when our names came out in the paper. We never tried for anything. Maybe around 2008 we obtained a loan from a finance company, the type that wants a lien on your car, personal property, your first born, blah, blah. We paid cash for used vehicles all these years, blinded that we could have started back with credit just within 2 years of filing, so we are 17 years behind. Only the thought of obtaining a mortgage brought me back to credit. At which I only had 2 small credit cards, 1 store, and 1 subprime low limit, never graduating Mastercard. No loans. My husband had nothing.
For most of my adult life, I was painfully uninformed about credit. In fact, I didn't even know about the principle of keeping overall credit card utilization to no more than 30% of your available credit until just a few years ago, and I didn't request my first free credit reports until I did so on request from my bankruptcy attorney in the summer of 2014.
That having been said, though, I can pretty well pinpoint my worst credit-related mistakes, which were to take out personal loans from Citifinancial (now One Main) in 1997 and 2008 when I was already dealing with heavy debt issues; I went to a debt-consolidation service the first time (big mistake; this being the days before reviews of such services were widely available on the Internet, I looked in the phone book and chose Ameridebt, which I bet a lot of you have heard of ), got furloughed for several weeks and burned most of the money up, and it took me four years to dig myself out of the hole to the point that I could start getting credit cards again in 2001. Then in 2008, when dealing with property-tax issues caused by a badly organized mortgage refinance that didn't include a tax escrow account, I went back to Citifinancial and got not one but two personal loans totaling $15,000 (the second time around, I actually let myself be smooth-talked into it because I had only intended to get a much smaller amount). Exactly the same thing happened to me the second time - I got furloughed due to lack of available work, this time for three and a half months! - and I ended up having that account go into collection and having to file a FDCPA action when the collector goofed and started harassing my family members (part of the settlement included the account being deleted from my credit reports, so there's that at least). It wasn't a key factor driving me into Chap 7 BK in 2014, but it didn't help either.
I can't say I'll never make another epic dumb credit move again, but I do know this one thing: I am never getting another personal loan unless I get ironclad advice from competent people that it's the right thing to do in that circumstance. Twice burned, thrice shy.
While I didn't make any epic dumb credit moves, I do have 2 things that I feel regret to do.
First thing is when I was new to credit and don't know about FICO score and credit report (less than 2 years into credit world), I closed my Capital One CC when they refused to credit increase request, I have 2 other cards at 3k, Cap1 was at 1k, otherwise that will be my second oldest card, the card now dropped off from my reports.
Second thing is when I made a big app spree to pad my AAoA for the future in 2007, I already know well enough about credit at that time and score was good enough, then I went live under a rock for 5 years. This didn't effect my credit directly, but it has side-effect on my credit. There was no activity at all for full 5 years in my credit accounts/report during my hibernation, guess you know it, two thirds of accounts were closed due to inactivity during that period, I lost my oldest account, only lucky part is that I still have 8 accounts left, though 9 are reported open, but 1 is closed and still report open/not updated.
In Jan 1, 2013, I came out of the cave (myself thinking enough is enough) and tried to "fix" my credit right away, activating all the cards and made a small charge on all of them. Did an app spree (6 cards within a year) for sign-up bonus, ever since I rotate my cards and put a small charge on them every 4 months for activity. I did another app spree in 2015 for another round of sign-up bonuses. So far my profile/report is pretty good, but I still miss my oldest and second oldest account this day.
I think AMEX might forgive you if the account was ever paid off and your scores are high enough, I know that they refuse anyone who has ever not paid off an old account...so maybe it's not as bad as you might think
"We forgive ourselves a lot slower than others"