ast night I received a healthy CLI from BoA and because the account was once a $500 consolation prize when BoA denied me for a regular Cash card years ago, I felt a little bit of pride while looking back at the account progression. Since I've had an interesting history with BoA I feel it's worth sharing my rebuilding process with fellow members to offer encouragement and additional data points for those that have either fallen on hard times or just plain made foolish mistakes like myself and are now hopefully putting an honest attempt into financial responsibility.
Just like the saying, "money makes money" - Doing things right allows you to make some money from the banks rather than the reverse, even during basic consumer activites.
2006 - had a checking/savings relationship. Was a secondary account to Wachovia. Burned them for about $400 in 2009.
2011 - I received payroll checks written through BoA. I used the counter to cash them a few times and pushy tellers checked if I could open an account and indicated without sharing specifics that I still owed money and was not allowed to open an account.
2013 - paid off all of my debts. Opened a Chase checking/savings relationship. Actually not sure if I paid the BoA balance. At the time I was paying people back based off of collection letters. Did not actually see a BoA collection letter. But paid the Wachovia CA(burned them as well) and asked for verification so that I could get ChexSystems to unblock me from opening bank accounts. That's how I got the Chase accounts open. So I figure I must have paid BoA at the counter or somehow the debt was waived. I didn't really want to inquire, felt that if I poked the bear then maybe there was another debt that would pop up that currently was not coming to be in the mail nor holding me up with ChexSystems. I ignored it for a while.
2014 - company I worked for was in the middle an odd period, to say the least. It was a sales organization that was successful but also had your stereotypical scummy consumer sales people doing shady tactics. Over the course of a few months the following happened -
Someone made copies of my payroll checks and forged my signature and deposited the same check that I deposited for myself for their account as well. Apparently it had been going on for some time and one day Chase just shut my accounts down and sent me a check for my balance. While that was being worked out I opened a relationship with TD.
At some point in this period I tried to get a phone with Verizon and was declined due to a bad debt. After some investigation we found that the same person also opened up landline and mobile accounts in my name and none of them were ever paid.
And then craziest part happened in summer of 2014 - someone used my TD account to buy a used car from Budget.
My account was overdrawn and I was really in a bind. It took almost a year to get resolved. TD was pretty difficult with this. ..story for a different day.
but all this is getting to the point -
Because TD was slow and crappy about the whole ordeal, I asked my employer to stop direct deposit and give me their prepaid debit card/paycheck card option so that I could actually make money while waiting for a fraud investigation.
That paycard was issued by Bank of America. For a few months I would take every dollar out of that account and drop it into my Capital One Platinum account, essentially using the Cap1 as a debit card. I was afraid BoA would freeze the prepaid account and claim they were collecting some long overdue funds that I had been trying to forget about. In a perfect world I would have proactively reached out to BoA and offered to settle whatever outstanding debt I had, probably should have done that in 2012 or 2013 but I didn't. And so I was living in fear and therefore pulling all of my funds out immediately.
2015 - During this time I opened a CreditOne account. Not sure how that happened but I'm pretty sure that I received a mailer, and I know that I burned them in 2008 or 2009. But they gave me an account. I also opened the BuyPower card.
At the time, the GM card was handled differently, had a different website, and the best part - I was not allowed to make payments in-branch like I was able to do with the Platinum Mastercard. And obviously there was no CreditOne branch so I really needed to get a bank account if I didn't want to be the guy who had to buy money orders or use Western Union to pay my subprime credit card payments. And since it had been a few months without the coming of the apocalypse I figured I was safe and went into a BoA branch and asked if I was still blocked from getting an account and if so, what did I owe.
The manager actually said, "you already have an account" which was weird. Then he stuttered a little trying to make sense of what he was looking at while I said, "yeah I used to have an account and I probably owe you money, just tell me what I owe and I'll see if I can take of it now, if you allow that in-branch".
I was then told I do not owe anything and that I'm fine to open an account. He took me to a banker.
I told the banker that I thought the floor manager was wrong and that I thought I owe money, so just tell me the real deal and I'll work on it.
Banker said "I see you've been a customer since 2000 and you don't owe anything but that you don't have an active account."
I said, weird, but whatever, let's go, open me an account.
We did checking and I agreed to open a savings but did not agree to a credit card. I had just opened the other two cards and was declined for a Discover card. I did tell the banker that I needed to improve my credit rating before I felt comfortable applying for a BoA card. I didn't do any research on credit cards at the time but I could feel it that BoA would be tough to get in with. (guess I was right....)
Anyway, from that point on, I made a point to never be overdrawn or late with payments. I've never written checks beyond what was available, worked on my career and increasing my income. Continued to be responsible with my 3 subprime cards.
SIDE note - the Platinum Mastercard I mentioned - I let it go delinquent in 2014 when I was dealing with the TD Bank situation. Really Really Stupid, and I can't wait til 2021 when supposedly the negative information stops reporting. Will be interesting to see what an open credit card with past history of delinquency looks like on a credit report when I pass 7 years since DFD....
2016 - months after I opened the credit cards and bank account I decided to apply for the Cash Rewards card. I was declined. I still wasn't doing research but I could have sworn that I had just paid my Cap1 Platinum card down. I was feeling confident because I just got the CL increased to $4,300. (That card was a Credit Steps card that started at $300 and had gone as bad as 120 days delinquent not that long prior. If I remember correctly the CL went $300, $900, $1800, $4300). Not totally sure but I think I had more than 50% of the GM and CreditOne cards utilized. I also took an Affirm loan for about $1,000 for a computer. Thought it was time to get a rewards card. Thought wrong.
BoA declined me. But the decline message actually said I was declined. I was offered a consolation prize of a starter card. They actually called it Bank Americard but it didn't have any balance transfer offers and only had a $500 SL. It also had a $39 AF. However it did not require a security deposit. I was so pissed and disappointed, had the rookie-sense-of-entitlement. But I took the offer anyway and figured after 12 months I could try to push hard for a conversion or upgrade or something. I accepted online immediately.
SIDE note - shortly after I received a letter in the mail offering me the same thing, "while we were unable to approve your original request... you are preapproved to select blah blah". Must have been automated.....I did not reply to that and try to get a 2nd card. LOL imagine that decline notice....
SIDE SIDE note - was pissed that I went to look for another cash back card and found the Chase Freedom cards. I remember doing the pre-approval process and think I was pre-approved but honestly can't say for sure. It was one of those late night, lose your credit inhibitions transactions. anyway, I got approved for my Chase Freedom for $4,500.
Can't say for sure how timing or relationships helped or hurt but things played out weird, made me want to keep better track of DPs.....
For a while I was really good with on time payments but terrible with responsible utilization. I maxed out the cards and didn't bother to try to pay in full by due date to avoid interest. Some months I would, most I would not. I got charged residual interest just for dumb things like paying in full by cycle end date, not due date, and didn't bother to really learn better for a while. It wasn't until like a year and a half ago that I really started reading this forum. That coupled with being unable to graduate this BoA card and being unable to get a CLI on either the GM or Platinum card made me want to either find a smarter way to handle credit or just give up until my reports went clean. I knew I was doing something wrong when only CreditOne would give me a CLI. And those were horrible deals like, $150 CLI for $50 fee or something absurd.
After reading a lot here I started paying down my balances. I even asked Capital One for a product change and fortunately got the Savor program right when it started.
Right when I got my balances below 50% BoA 'graduated' this $500 clunker.
I was given a $2,000 CLI to make $2,500 and the AF was removed.
That's when I started keeping an Excel sheet on my balances, individual utilization, total limits, aggregate utilization, etc.
And of course then I got a Discover card, a Freedom Unlimited, AMEX.
I made sure to use my increased income to pay my balances to $0, never pay interest again, and maximize the returns I got for CC spend.
My outlook turned around pretty quickly. Once I got my Savor, I was able to get the latest CLI to $7,300. Then I PCd the Frankencard to Travel Rewards and got a bunch of cashback cards with 0% APR periods. But once my balances were $0 I didn't need the APR promos and I was hungry for more rewards. And before the APR promos were over I was already moving on from the cashback approach and into the points/miles approach.
I recently transferred Ultimate Rewards points to Hyatt for a redemption at the Hyatt Regency SFO. I got a $400 room for 12,000 points. That's a really great return that only 10% from Discover yr1 or 6% AMEX groceries could beat.
But I digress, the point of this post was the BoA progression.
This past winter I found out a few months late that BoA switched to SP CLIs so I tried a month or two after a decline and got the card lifted from $2,500 to $6,000. Had asked for $10,000 and was countered with the $6,000.
I tried to get the VISA Platinum brand of the card upgraded to VISA Signature and was told no by a CSR.
For those who are as granual as myself, if you get told the same, just try again. That agent also told me I could only do a permanent upgrade to the Premium Rewards card. LOL. I actually believed her. SMH.
A little less than a month ago I tried again and the agent was able to get it done after putting me on hold for a short period and very quickly processed the request. She did read me the long script that was read to me when I did the actual PC from nothing to Travel Rewards but the rest of the process was quick.
My cycle ended yesterday and the Request Credit Line Increase button came back and I tried for a $9,000 CLI and got it approved.
Another member confirmed that I left money on the table, as I suspected. I have been told the best practice is to shoot for the stars with BoA and just take their counter and the awkward AA style letter you get when they counter.
I'm cutting this now since it's already very long. But I've never contributed to the rebuild forum. If anyone would like more DPs don't be afraid to ask. I'm not the greatest example of a rebuild but I have done dumb things for sure and am happy to assist someone trying to do the right thing with their money and credibility. I believe this is more than just 'monster credit lines' and 'sick redemptions'. And now more than ever, as a new business owner I truly believe in judging creditworthiness as a vital part of our society and economy. I'd like to believe that anyone here who is rebuilding is making an honest attempt to be as much a responsible person as they are trying to acquire $500k in credit lines.