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Can't get a loan/unsecured credit card due to bad credit established as a teen. What can I do?

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Hello! Long time creeper, first time poster! :wave:


I'm starting to get really fed up, frustrated and embarrassed of my situation and have no idea how to fix it. Back when I first turned 18, I applied for a credit card ($500 limit) and was approved straight away. I lost my job about a year later and was unable to make even the minimum payment on my balance (it was completely maxed out because I was an salamander with spending) and it went into collections. This credit card that went to collections still pops up as an "active card" with every place I've applied to get a credit card (including my own bank, a different bank than my original credit card that was issued), even though it's been long cut up and gone about 3 years ago by order of my old branch. Naturally, this looks terrible on all my applications. I no longer have this credit card and it's currently in collections, so why is it still showing up on my applications? I feel like I'm missing something here.


I have a couple of other debts as well which are both with Telus. One is for a cable TV bill that went unpaid due to some falling outs with my old roommates (I was the only one making payments on it, everyone else lied about paying their share) so eventually it got racked up with late fees and additional charges. I was so upset about this situation that I moved out and made the mistake of leaving the bill open and without payment. Boom. Straight to collections, owing $750. The next was my cell phone bill, which I also couldn't afford to pay after losing my job. I called Telus to try and cancel my service and was told to pay $420 of money I did not have in order to cancel my contract. Naturally, it eventually went to collections as well. :(


The kicker and stupidest move on my part was taking out payday loans to get by after all this happened and I lost my job. Long story short, I owe a total of about $800 between 3 different loan companies dating about 2 years back from today. I went into a deep depression over personal and relationship issues so I was very apathetic about paying this money back at the time it was the most urgent and opportune. Now that I've picked myself up again, the thought of how much interest I've probably accrued from all of this scares me. I currently owe around $2600 as a rough estimate for my current debt (it is most likely more than this however). It could be far far far worse and is a fairly small amount, but the marks on the credit score are hurting me more than the actual money owing itself.


I am now 22 years old with a good paying job and far better financial habits. I never overdraft from my accounts, am never late on rent, pay my current cell phone bill on time every month in full and bought a car without the use of a loan (so there's no debt there). I feel useless when it comes to helping my boyfriend with financials however (we live together) because of my poor credit and not being able to take out anything in my name once the word "credit check" pops up. He says that it doesn't bother him and he knows and understands my situation (he feels it is "his job" to take care of me) but I feel terrible that everything has to be in his name due to my teenage mistakes. I would like to help him out and take some responsibility as well, despite the fact he feels it's unnecessary.


My credit and debt situation is just a big mess. I have no idea which agency has what balance so I don't even know where to begin getting in contact to fix this. Just recently my car has been having trouble and the amount to fix it is too great for me to afford. I can't get a car loan without a cosign, which I don't want anyone to have to do for me anyway. Even places that practically hand out credit cards won't approve me. All of the collections calls have mysteriously stopped for the past year or so, and this scares me too as I fear they may be starting to take further action. I really just need some advice on where to start fixing all of this before it gets worse and to get my life back. Can anyone help?

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First you should provide detailed information of what you want help with as far as type of debts. After that someone will read and assist. People here are great for advice!

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It's not hopeless, and congratulations for taking the beginning steps to good credit.


First thing, if you haven't done this yet, get your full reports (not your scores) from annualcreditreport.com. These are your annual free reports.


Second, start reading as much as you can here, especially the stickies and noobie threads, and get some basic understanding of your reports and scores. Be prepared to be totally confused in the beginning. Just remember, you didn't get into debt overnight, and it will take some time to get back on the right track.


Third, go over your reports and look for possible errors and things that don't make sense, then start asking specific questions.

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