Hey everyone! I'm new here and just wanted to start with a Hearty THANK YOU for this awesome forum. I've spent hours looking over as much as I can and have already had many of my personal questions answered.
Then, I need to apologise a head of time cause this is going to be a long post. Hopefully it's clear but please let me know if you need more information.
I'll start with my main question : What do I do next???
Some background info.
Previously I had a history of bad credit worthiness. Mostly due to being young, personally irresponsible and having a now ex spouse as a bad financial influence. I'm talking years of checksystems, deliquents, lates, judgements, defaults. You name it. My income had always been pretty solid but spending habits were just bad.
10yrs later, a move abroad, a divorce, self searching and a bit of humbling hardship - I actually have my act together and have the fortune of a clean slate. - Pretty much EVERYTHING has come off my credit report. So Im starting from zero. Maintained my bank accts with no overdrafts for the last almost ten years (I lived in overdrafts previously).
As of March this year Credit Report sites were unable to tell me my credit score cause it was either so low or non non-existent.
Heres my current Situation:
1. In March 2020, I decided it was time to get my head out of the sand and finally tackle my student loans from over 12yrs ago that had gone into default and subsequent collections. I was able to start a rehab plan for 9mths , payments were greatly reduced and I was able to file for taxes without having my returns offset (basically siezed by the FG to pay down the loans). Yay! I was so happy and had been so scared before this not knowing what to expect.
2. I guess working on the high from my success in tackiling my student loans, I decided very randomly to apply for an American Express Hilton Honors card- I stay at Hilton Hotels for work and have amassed a lot of points. I didn't expect to be approved. One week later, after providing my paystubs, access to my bank accounts and making several calls to the Amex Application team. I was informed that I'd been approved!
SL- $5000. ( In my past life my only credit card had been a Capital One Card for $500 that I eventually defualted on...). Talk about elation!
Also in March 2020...the world shutdown.
3. In April 2020 I pulled my Credit report from the AMEX site and with Chase and found that my TransUnion Score was 618.
3.b. In May my TU score went up to 623.
4. In June 2020 I went ahead and signed up with Equifax report Monitoring and Experian. My scores were TU 627 :EX627 :EQ783 - Huge discrepancy. I realized that I had a Collection with IC Systems for $1091 for ATT debt but it apparently never reported until December 2019. This is only reporting on TU and EX. Equifax was clean.
5. In April and May my Amex utilization was at 4%. I paid the balance in full and each time my credit score went up a couple notches.
6. In June 2020, in anticipation of the world opening up I purchased some airline tickets ( which also helped me achieve my bonus points rewards). Tickets were $1478.
7. July 10th statement cut. July 12th I payed my balance of $1478 in full.
8. July 15th or there abouts I checked my scores none of them are reporting current. However I did get notifications from all three agencies that my credit score had dropped. CK showed a drop to TU 602, EX 602 and EQ 721. ( Question: Is this because my Utilization went up for June? I've paid the balance down to $0 again as is my plan each month...never charge what I can't cover with cash, right?. Anyway , does this mean that next month as long as I keep my Utilization down below say 5% , my pts should go back up?)
9. On July 12th I contacted IC Systems and negotiated a PFD Settlement of $645 in payment of the $1091 ATT collection. I got the confirmation email from them on July 15th and settled the debt IN FULL. (Question: I guess it's too late now but was paying this off a good idea? And when it drops off will it offer a significant boost to my credit score? ) So, I'm super proud of myself with this one. Never before had I ever made an honest effort to pay my collections. Tips on this site taught me how to negotiate down and get that letter for PFD.
10. What should I be doing next? To build, grow and manage my credit?
I) just the one AMEX $5000 CL , that I pay in full each month. Utilization was high at 30% last month which lowered my score. It's been Paid in full. On average it's been at 5%.
2) I paid off the only collections I had and hope this drops off my report and boosts my score in the next month or two.
3) my student loans are in rehab and are NOT reporting on my credit report at this time. Don't know if this changes in September?
4) I have three enquiries on my credit. One is Amex March 2020, SYNCB Feb 2020 and SYNCB Oct 2018.
Thats all I have.
I'd like to apply for my 3xCLI with AMEX. I'm well past the 60days but figured I needed time to build a bit of history since Amex is really all I've got. (Question: When should I do this?)
- Discover IT Cash back rewards is my next plan ( should I wait until after my AMEX CLI request so I could get a higher limit?)
- Chase (When is the best time to apply for a Chase card and what do you all suggest for someone with limited credit?)
- Student Loans ( will they ever report? And if so would that be a positive or negative? ) They had passed the 10yr mark and simply fell off my report is what I imagined happened. Now if I keep my payments steady and on time...wouldnt that reflect as aged installment credit and help me?
I'd really just appreciate any guidance or ideas on what to do next. Ultimately I would love to see my credit score above 800.