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Seeking advice on how to improve credit when utilization is high

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tnhomestead
Frequent Contributor

Re: Seeking advice on how to improve credit when utilization is high

Just a note on the loan, you said 70% goes to the cards. What are your plans on the other 30%? Just pointing out if your like me, there is a chance that money could end up diverted into cars, tractors, boats etc 😉 so make sure to use it on the cards instead. Don't owe as much as you, buy in the same boat as far as utilization goes. Aiming to get mine below 50% by end of April,  good luck on kicking yours to the curd asap. 

Message 61 of 163
W261w261
Frequent Contributor

Re: Seeking advice on how to improve credit when utilization is high

Wow and wow! My head is spinning from reading all 61 posts. Even teared up a little imagining the degree of relief the OP must feel when the light at the end of the tunnel is brighter, and the tunnel perhaps shorter. I also imagine there's a feeling of being fully involved in the process, which goes a long way towards banishing denial.

 

OP, the process described upthread depends on the economy / your personal cash flow situation not tanking before you get the debt under control. I would suggest to you that on your non-credit side (how you make your money + how you spend it) that you take a close look (as you have here) of how to pare expenditures, even if it's painful, or of course get more coming in (probably not so easy). Sometimes symbolic moves can generate a dopamine reward (a/k/a no more Starbucks, or turn down the thermostat). In short, apply the same rigor on that side of your life that you are doing here. I say this because those things can make you feel as good as you're feeling here, *and* every dollar you can put into the system incrementally reduces the time you will be exposed to an economic system "large event" that is beyond your control. 

Message 62 of 163
Expansion
Regular Contributor

Re: Seeking advice on how to improve credit when utilization is high

@tcbofade -- thank you for checking in on me Smiley Happy  CELEBRATION!

 

I am astonished.  The $20k loan was approved from PenFed!! 

14.99% for 5 years, monthly payment just under $500. 

I literally waited until the money was in my account before posting, I wanted to be sure Smiley Happy

 

After I originally submitted my application for the $20k, I actually called PenFed and asked if they could adjust the application down to a smaller amount so I would have a better chance of getting approved.   

 

The rep said they couldn't do that, and remarked, "You meet all the criteria, so I don't see why you wouldn't get approved."

 

So I really kept that in my mind.  And I decided to just give them plenty of documetnation on my income. 

 

I first submitted 2 years of business tax returns with the original application, since that gives a better picture of my income.  And then when they came back and asked for personal, in addition to 2 years of personal returns, I also submitted 4 months of business checking account statements, and also the signature card that proves I own the business account, as well as a note asking them to consider the full picture.  (Because I am self-employed so many things are tax-deductable that it can look from my personal returns like I make a lot less money than I do.)  

 

And it worked!

 

So today I went ahead and paid all my credit cards down to 67%.  

 

I also paid down the Navy Fed completely, since it has a 15.99% interest rate.   (And one BoA down to 47%, since it had a 14.99% interest rate.)

 

So once the Navy Fed balance shows $0,

I can transfer my Discover balance to Navy Fed (since Navy Fed card has no BT fees),

and then back to Discover,

thus actually being able to take advantage of the 0% BT Discover offer sitting in my Discover account.  

 

Then the interest saved from that covers the extra interest I'm paying with the PenFed loan for the coming year.   

 

Once the balance on my Navy Fed shows that it's zero, I am also planning on calling Navy Fed and asking them if they can reduce my interest rate and/or if they have any BT offers.

 

Also @tcbofade it has really helped me so much to know that you are at a point where all your balances are between 0 and 5% interest.  Before I knew your story I didn't think that was possible for me, but now I'm just thinking -- OK, I'm going to take this one step at a time, inch my utilization down, inch my scores up, inch my rates down, until I'm where tcbofade is.

 

And your suggestion to specifically check out the PenFed personal loan prequalify tool was GOLDEN.   For some reason I thought credit unions would be a bit of a hassle, like I would have to plead my case to a rep on the phone, but it wasn't like that at all.  Power of the prequalify tool!

 

And @K-in-Boston your advice to watch for BT offers from Discover, BoA, and Navy Federal -- I am on it, as you can see!!

 

And thank you @FinStar for suggesting I come over here and share details - you got it all started Smiley Happy

 

Thank you all for sharing this journey with me.  Your wisdom is making a big difference Smiley Happy

Message 63 of 163
Expansion
Regular Contributor

Re: Seeking advice on how to improve credit when utilization is high

@W261w261 thanks for sharing the journey with me Smiley Happy  I'm impressed you read all the posts!   Emotional, yes! 

Message 64 of 163
tcbofade
Super Contributor

Re: Seeking advice on how to improve credit when utilization is high

Congrats!  I'm glad that PenFed was able to help!

 

They were a great help to me as well.

 

You got this.  Be patient.

 

Thank you for the update, and congrats again!

07/01/24 Fico 8: EX 766, EQ 811, TU 787.
Fico 9: EX 772 07/14/24, EQ 789 07/04/24, TU No idea.

Zero percent financing is where the devil lives...
Message 65 of 163
Expansion
Regular Contributor

Re: Seeking advice on how to improve credit when utilization is high

Thank you @tcbofade !

 

For next steps, I'm thinking:

-wait 4-6 weeks for the new lower balances to change my scores

-then look at possibly doing a 2nd loan (maybe with Discover or Navy Federal) to bring utilization down to 47% 

(but only if it feels good and the monthly payments feel completely do-able)

 

and also in the meantime

-maybe set up a share/secured loan with Navy Federal, like for $250 for 6 months - I've read this helps approvals

-continue keeping my eyes peeled for BT offers from existing cards, or new cards that are worth exploring

 

Anything else?  Is this on track?

Message 66 of 163
RSX
Valued Contributor

Re: Seeking advice on how to improve credit when utilization is high

congrats on all your progress so far!  lots of research has helped you for sure

 

because of all the major progress, I understand you want to keep that momentum - but i think now is the perfect time to slow down on any account work/account openings

 

Red below is good - strikethrough is NO

 

you have 2 loans already - you do not need a third

you have 2 loans already - you do not need a Share/ Secured Loan - that only works if you dont already have a loan and are trying to fulfill the Credit Mix portion of your Credit

 

you have a great setup of new loans and new payment plans - now is the time to PAY DOWN - nothing else - watch your scores, but dont stress about some movement in them - the primary thing for you to watch and control is the Total Amount of Debt - watch it go down - dont worry about anything else for at least 6 months to a year

 

 

For next steps, I'm thinking:

-wait 4-6 weeks for the new lower balances to change my scores - YES

-then look at possibly doing a 2nd loan (maybe with Discover or Navy Federal) to bring utilization down to 47% 

(but only if it feels good and the monthly payments feel completely do-able)

 

and also in the meantime

-maybe set up a share/secured loan with Navy Federal, like for $250 for 6 months - I've read this helps approvals

-continue keeping my eyes peeled for BT offers from existing cards, or new cards that are worth exploring

 

 

and Good Luck on your continued progress!

Dec 16/2019. EX. 721. EQ. 723. TU 746
Jan 25/2024 EX. 774 EQ. 751 TU 758
Inq. EX 2 EQ 3 TU 6 - - CC 2x24, 0x12
Amex BCP $35k - Apple GS $21k - BMW/Elan $19k - Cap1 QS $16.7k - Chase Amazon $13.6k - Chase Bonvoy Bountiful $10k - Chase United Club Infinite $26k - Citi CustomCash $3k - Citi DC $14.5k - CreditUnion1 $9k - DiscoverIT $31.5k - PayBoo - $15.6k - Penfed Gold - $19.3k - USB AltitudeGO -$19k- USBank Cash+ -$25k - PenFed LOC - $20k - USB LOC - $15k
Message 67 of 163
SouthJamaica
Mega Contributor

Re: Seeking advice on how to improve credit when utilization is high


@Expansion wrote:

@tcbofade -- thank you for checking in on me Smiley Happy  CELEBRATION!

 

I am astonished.  The $20k loan was approved from PenFed!! 

14.99% for 5 years, monthly payment just under $500. 

I literally waited until the money was in my account before posting, I wanted to be sure Smiley Happy

 

After I originally submitted my application for the $20k, I actually called PenFed and asked if they could adjust the application down to a smaller amount so I would have a better chance of getting approved.   

 

The rep said they couldn't do that, and remarked, "You meet all the criteria, so I don't see why you wouldn't get approved."

 

So I really kept that in my mind.  And I decided to just give them plenty of documetnation on my income. 

 

I first submitted 2 years of business tax returns with the original application, since that gives a better picture of my income.  And then when they came back and asked for personal, in addition to 2 years of personal returns, I also submitted 4 months of business checking account statements, and also the signature card that proves I own the business account, as well as a note asking them to consider the full picture.  (Because I am self-employed so many things are tax-deductable that it can look from my personal returns like I make a lot less money than I do.)  

 

And it worked!

 

So today I went ahead and paid all my credit cards down to 67%.  

 

I also paid down the Navy Fed completely, since it has a 15.99% interest rate.   (And one BoA down to 47%, since it had a 14.99% interest rate.)

 

So once the Navy Fed balance shows $0,

I can transfer my Discover balance to Navy Fed (since Navy Fed card has no BT fees),

and then back to Discover,

thus actually being able to take advantage of the 0% BT Discover offer sitting in my Discover account.  

 

Then the interest saved from that covers the extra interest I'm paying with the PenFed loan for the coming year.   

 

Once the balance on my Navy Fed shows that it's zero, I am also planning on calling Navy Fed and asking them if they can reduce my interest rate and/or if they have any BT offers.

 

Also @tcbofade it has really helped me so much to know that you are at a point where all your balances are between 0 and 5% interest.  Before I knew your story I didn't think that was possible for me, but now I'm just thinking -- OK, I'm going to take this one step at a time, inch my utilization down, inch my scores up, inch my rates down, until I'm where tcbofade is.

 

And your suggestion to specifically check out the PenFed personal loan prequalify tool was GOLDEN.   For some reason I thought credit unions would be a bit of a hassle, like I would have to plead my case to a rep on the phone, but it wasn't like that at all.  Power of the prequalify tool!

 

And @K-in-Boston your advice to watch for BT offers from Discover, BoA, and Navy Federal -- I am on it, as you can see!!

 

Thank you all for sharing this journey with me.  Your wisdom is making a big difference Smiley Happy


Nice job. Congratulations.


Total revolving limits 650200 (530700 reporting) FICO 8: EQ 708 TU 714 EX 715

Message 68 of 163
SouthJamaica
Mega Contributor

Re: Seeking advice on how to improve credit when utilization is high


@Expansion wrote:

Thank you @tcbofade !

 

For next steps, I'm thinking:

-wait 4-6 weeks for the new lower balances to change my scores

-then look at possibly doing a 2nd loan (maybe with Discover or Navy Federal) to bring utilization down to 47% 

(but only if it feels good and the monthly payments feel completely do-able)

 

and also in the meantime

-maybe set up a share/secured loan with Navy Federal, like for $250 for 6 months - I've read this helps approvals

-continue keeping my eyes peeled for BT offers from existing cards, or new cards that are worth exploring

 

Anything else?  Is this on track?


No the SSL won't do anything for you. That's only for folks who have no open loans, or who are about to pay off their only open loan.


Total revolving limits 650200 (530700 reporting) FICO 8: EQ 708 TU 714 EX 715

Message 69 of 163
Anonymalous
Valued Contributor

Re: Seeking advice on how to improve credit when utilization is high


@Expansion wrote:

So once the Navy Fed balance shows $0,

I can transfer my Discover balance to Navy Fed (since Navy Fed card has no BT fees),

and then back to Discover,

thus actually being able to take advantage of the 0% BT Discover offer sitting in my Discover account.  


For some reason, I found this really amusing. Smiley LOL

 

Congrats on your success with PenFed. You're thinking things through, so I have confidence you'll be able to stay the course.

Message 70 of 163
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