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In Pursuit of High Scores and Higher Limits


MsIndependent
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Many moons ago I was part of CB (can’t for the life of me remember my screen name) and did a lot of credit report removing baddies and re-establishing credit. In February 2007 I opened a National City Credit card (secured that did not report as secured) and worked like crazy get all the baddies (judgments, collections, lates…you name it).


By 2008 I had been approved for a Wal-Mart, Target, and Chevron cards. These were followed by two CitiCards and an HSBC card.


I moved from California to NYC in late 2008 just as the financial crisis hit and did my best to stay afloat. Unfortunately, I got behind with the IRS and they filed a tax lien in 2009. This tanked my scores. I also had two unpaid items, one medical collection and on AAA that weren’t helping me out much either. I did my best to not lose too much ground while I was getting back on my financial feet. I had some savings, but initially no income, so things were a bit rocky here and there.


I came back to CB in December of 2013 and decided to give it a go once again. I must say I am so inspired by all the stories and am grateful for a community that shares advice and lessons learned. Whoo-whooo!


Here is where I started:


December 2013


ScoreSense (FAKOs)

  • Equifax 649
  • Experian 625
  • Transunion 667

Here is what needed improvement:


  • Removal of tax lien
  • Removal of Medical Collection
  • Removal of 11 late payments from 2010/2011 spread across three different private student loans
  • Removal of late payment from Target
  • Removal of late payments from CitiCard (on a closed account)
  • Increase in limits on Walmart, Chevron, Target, Paypal, Capital One (former HSBC Union Plus Card), Barclays Upromise Card (former Citicard, then BofA)
  • New credit lines with higher limits
  • Getting Barclays to report my account to all three CRAs, as it is my highest limit ($6,000)

January 2014


I was able to successfully remove the medical collection using WhyChat’s method and some rules related to NYC residents (Debt Collection Agency license).


Submitted documentation to the IRS requesting my lien be withdrawn.


Decreased my credit card utilization by 10% by making payments on all my cards.


Sent a request to Barlays to report my account to all 3 CRAs


Disputed my lates on the Sallie Mae private loans. Reports updated to REMOVE ALL lates on three trade lines. Miracles really do exist!


January FAKOs (ScoreSense)


  • Equifax 689
  • Experian 664
  • TransUnion 700

February 2014


With my higher (FAKO) scores in hand, I called PayPal and asked for CLI and they gave me one for $1500. Raising my limit to $1600. (Many CLDs after the lien posted in 2009) Also called Walmart and got a $200 CLI, Chevron increase to $450. Not impressive overall, but helped my utilization. Using 41% of my overall available (reporting) credit. (Barclays still not on my credit report. Requested a CLI increase from Cap1, hard pull on all three (ouch), declined for no report (Equifax, but still shows a hard pull. WTH?) and no explanation as to why they pulled THREE. Grrr. Sent letter.


On Feb 26th the IRS sent me a letter approving my lien withdrawal. Sent me form 10916 on the 28th. Checked online and it had not been recorded with the NYC city register.


Barclays responded to my request to report agreeing they would report my account to all three CRAs and to allow at least 30 days for an update.


Applied for Roaman’s card, approved for $750. No hard.


Got a little excited and applied for DCU CC, Discover and re-opening of Citi. Declined on all five hard pulls on EQ. One hard pull on TU. I normally am not app happy, but I got a bit caught up in the thread that SuperCreditMan has going on…apparently unpaid tax liens are more frowned upon than discharged bankruptcy. Who knew??? (Someone on CB, I’m sure.)


February FAKOs (ScoreSense)


  • Equifax 689
  • Experian 692
  • Transunion 692

March 2014


Baddies remaining on report are:


1 Federal Tax Lien (2009, unpaid)

Target - 1 30 day late from 9/13

Citi (closed) - 1 30 day late, 1 60 late from 10/13 and 11/13


Started work to get b* on Transunion to remove the one inquiry. Using MPM and SCP, should see results by 3/31/14.


My Citi AA letter cited “no installment loans” on my Equifax as part of the reason for the decline. Submitted a request to SallieMae to report my student loan to Equifax. Also sent a CFPB complaint requesting it be reported.


Sent a second letter to Barclays to see when the credit line would report. Also filed a CFPB complaint to speed things up.


Sent a letter to all 3 CRA with a copy of the Withdrawal of Lien document and requested deletion. Also submitted an online dispute with Equifax, using the online document upload feature.


Sent letter to Discover for recon. Lien was cited as reason fro denial, since proof of lien withdrawal.


Sending recon letter to Citi showing removal of lien and proof of a revolving account (which was also listed as reason for denial)


Target and Citi responded to my GW request for late removals with a firm “NO”….Target did refund the late fee though and agreed to remove any lates that were more than 24 months old…there are none.


Applied Bill Me Later credit (Comenity), hard pull on Eq and denied due to “too many inquiries”…OUCH.


March FAKOs (Equifax Complete)


  • Equifax 688
  • Experian 688
  • TransUnion 701

Expecting Transunion b* within the next two days.


Plans for April


  • Follow up on the removal of the liens from my report.
  • Follow up on the Barclay reporting
  • Follow up on the Sallie Mae reporting
  • Resist the urge to apply for new credit
  • Wrap my head around Equifax B*
  • Lower my utilization
  • Pay my bills on time! :-)
  • Request a reduced interest rate on my CCs once my utilization is lower and the lien is not reporting.

My goals are to get the most favorable terms on my existing lines, increase my available credit (CLIs and paying down balances), get my scores to as close to 800 as possible within the next 8-9 months to app for a mortgage.


I’ll pull my FICO once the liens are gone from all reports.


Any input, advice or guidance would be greatly appreciated!


Thanks to BobWang, shifter, SCM and others for providing valuable input and updates. I LOVE CB!

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My Citi AA letter cited “no installment loans” on my Equifax as part of the reason for the decline. Submitted a request to SallieMae to report my student loan to Equifax. Also sent a CFPB complaint requesting it be reported.
Sent a second letter to Barclays to see when the credit line would report. Also filed a CFPB complaint to speed things up.

 

 

Where does it say that a company is required to report to any or all of the CRAs?

Edited by TX-Bluebonnet
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My Citi AA letter cited “no installment loans” on my Equifax as part of the reason for the decline. Submitted a request to SallieMae to report my student loan to Equifax. Also sent a CFPB complaint requesting it be reported.
Sent a second letter to Barclays to see when the credit line would report. Also filed a CFPB complaint to speed things up.

 

 

Where does it say that a company is required to report to any or all of the CRAs?

 

 

FCRA

 

§ 623. Responsibilities of furnishers of information to consumer reporting agencies [15 U.S.C. § 1681s-2]

(Duties of furnishers of information upon notice of dispute.

(1) In general. After receiving notice pursuant to section 611(a)(2) [§ 1681i] of a

dispute with regard to the completeness or accuracy of any information provided by a person to a consumer reporting agency, the person shall

 

(A) conduct an investigation with respect to the disputed information;

  1. ( review all relevant information provided by the consumer reporting agency pursuant to section 611(a)(2) [§ 1681i];

  2. © report the results of the investigation to the consumer reporting agency; and

  3. (D) if the investigation finds that the information is incomplete or inaccurate, report those results to all other consumer reporting agencies

    to which the person furnished the information and that compile and maintain files on consumers on a nationwide basis.

Barclays is a furnisher of information and has been alerted that information is incomplete or inaccurate. I have an account that is six years old, they regularly report other similar accounts, they have no basis for not reporting my account. They have already agreed in writing they are not in compliance. I just need them to become compliant.

 

I'm disputing the completeness and accuracy (or lack thereof) of the existence, status, credit limit, payment history and age of account. It is negatively impacting my AAOA, utilization and payment history and all correlations to my credit score.

Edited by MsIndependent
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Checked Experian report today and it appears they got my IRS Lien Withdrawal straight away. NO PR on my report! I could honestly cry right now. (Must resist the urge to app for anything).

 

Baddies remaining:

 

EX - Target 1 - 30 day late, CitiCard 1 - 30 day late, 1 - 60 day late (7 Inq, 2 recent)

Equifax - Fed Tax Lien, Target 1 - 30 day late, CitiCard 1 - 30 day late, 1 - 60 day late (7 Inq,all recent)

Transunion - Fed Tax Lien, Target 1 - 30 day late, CitiCard 1 - 30 day late, 1 - 60 day late (1 Inq, recent)

 

Missing/Inaccuracies remaining:

 

EX - Barclays card not reporting

EQ - Barclays card not reporting, Sallie Mae not reporting

TU - Barclays card not reporting

 

Need to call CFPB regarding my Barclays and Sallie Mae disputes this morning.

 

Expecting b* on TU today or tomorrow. Haven't started EQ b* as I am sending recon letters for the declinations with update on tax lien and 2013 tax return.

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My Privacy Matters does not help with bumpage on TransUnion, it works for Equifax, only Smart Credit and TransUnion Plus work for TransUnion. Only one inquiry though it should not be a big deal.

 

Thanks, Cezarius30. That explains a LOT. One isn't a big deal, I know. I wanted to practice the tracking and process on TU before I tackled EQ, since I have 8 on there. Appreciate the feedback!

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Federal tax lien is gone from TU! :yahoo: Just checked SCP and my score increased by 23 points. I know it is a FAKO, but still promising nonetheless. The withdrawal was filed with the register on the 25th of March and it's gone off of EX and TU, as of 1 April 2014. I'm waiting on EQ. I disputed via CM (No RR) and also online, using the document upload feature....last week.

 

As a side note, I preemptively sent the CM disputes to all the CRAs prior to the actual filing. Based on the average time it takes the NYC register to receive and process these documents, I guessed it would be filed near the end of March (IRS document was dated and sent 2/28). EX came off first. They received my CM on the 24th of March, according to the USPS site. It was deleted from my reports on the 28th of March. So it may have been my letter or their own service picked up the PR...or a combination of both.

 

All my letters had the IRS cover letter and their form. I originally planned to mail the actual court documents, but after I learned the register here doesn't provide certified copies of liens, I took the gamble with the IRS letter and form.

 

Since the filing has occurred, I did provide EQ with a copy of the filed document along with the recording number via their document upload feature. Let's see how long it takes for them to remove. I've read people have had trouble with either EQ or EX on these. I'm prepared to fight at least one CRA. I hope I won't have to, though. :angel:

 

Baddies remaining:

  • EX - Target 1 - 30 day late, CitiCard 1 - 30 day late, 1 - 60 day late (7 Inq, 2 recent)
  • Equifax - Fed Tax Lien, Target 1 - 30 day late, CitiCard 1 - 30 day late, 1 - 60 day late (7 Inq,all recent)
  • Transunion - Target 1 - 30 day late, CitiCard 1 - 30 day late, 1 - 60 day late (1 Inq, recent)

Missing/Inaccuracies remaining:

  • EX - Barclays card not reporting
  • EQ - Barclays card not reporting, Sallie Mae Consolidated loan not reporting
  • TU - Barclays card not reporting

Improvement since January 2013

  • Deleted - CMRE Medical CO (EX only)
  • Deleted - 3 Sallie Mae Private Student loans - 11 lates, including +180 days late (EX, EQ, TU)
  • New Credit - Roaman's (Obtained on 1/25, reported by mid-February on EX, EQ, TU)
  • CLI - Wal-Mart (+200), Chevron (+280), Paypal (+1500)
  • Deleted - Federal Tax Lien (EX and TU)
  • Decreased utilization by 22%
Edited by MsIndependent
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Ok..I guess I'll be the first to ask. How in the heck do you get Sallie Mae to delete lates!?!? Please PM me if you don't mind. I have realized that is going to be my hardest to get resolved..your progress is very impressive! !

 

Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk

Edited by Emtmedic44
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The title of this thread inspired me...

 

Poster-pursuithappyness.jpg

 

Love this! I'm a single mom, my daughter is just finishing her second year of college. I am hoping to get my first mortgage late this year or early next. I'm definitely in pursuit of "happyness"!

Edited by MsIndependent
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The title of this thread inspired me...

 

Poster-pursuithappyness.jpg

 

Love this! I'm a single mom, my daughter is just finishing her second year of college. I hoping to get my first mortgage late this year or early next. I'm definitely in pursuit of "happyness"!

 

 

This movie was really great, too. I am still in shock that some people do not like/watch movies. And :good:

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Sallie Mae was a bit of a beast. I have five total loans with them. Three are private loans and then two are consolidated loans. (The consolidated loan shows as one loan on my EX and TU, doesn't appear at all on EQ. The loans are divided into subsidized and unsubsidized, internally. I *believe* for interest tracking/accrual.)

 

In September of 2010 I took a lower paying job for a few months in order to study for a certification. I earned the certification in December of 2010 and got my first 30 day late on all three private loans the month prior. It progressed from there through April of 2011, so 30, 60, 90, 180. I entered a repayment agreement in April and they agreed to stop reporting it as late, as long as I made timely repayments for six months. They didn't report it as current, they just didn't report it. "ND" (No data) appeared in the following six months. The seventh month it was reported as "paid as agreed."

 

Late December, I sent a personal letter via CM to the Consumer Advocate at Sallie Mae. I included copies from all three reports of all three loans. On face value, they were all reporting differently and inconsistently. (Some jumped from 30 days to 90 days, others didn't make mathematical sense.) After the letter was received I called the Advocate and discussed my situation. I was told they would "research" it and let me know what the results were.

 

I then sent a letter to EX, EQ and TU and referenced my letter to the Advocate, including the CM number, but did NOT include the letter. I notified them I was disputing the trade lines and would like them deleted.

 

When the CRAs investigated, Sallie Mae only verified my payment history from May 2011 to present, so there is no reporting of anything prior, thereby deleting all the negatives. The account still reads as opened in 2001 and 2002 when I opened the accounts, so I didn't lose the age. These were the first to go in January.

 

I never heard from the advocate again. I made digital copies of all three reports in the event any of these items get "re-inserted" in the future. I'm guessing since the lates were over 24 months old that impacted the deletion. But I can't say for sure. I only make that correlation because another creditor agreed to delete any lates that were 24 months or older.

 

I've sent the advocate another letter about two weeks ago, asking that they report my consolidated loans to Equifax. They also aren't reporting the private loans to them, but I figured I'd let that sleeping dog rest. :blush:

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Checked EQ Complete today and it says I have 0 PRs on my report. <Doing the happy dance.> The Federal tax lien has been removed from all three reports. I'm going to wait until my recent payments post to my cards before pulling my FICO scores. There was no change on the EQ score from yesterday (with the PR) until today without the PR. I know ...it is well posted that the FAKOs stop counting the PR as time goes on and thus I shouldn't expect to see a big jump. But wow...not even 1 point?

 

I am glad that the PR was removed without any pushback. After reading many posts on here, I was expecting to fight with one, two or all of the CRAs. I did send my documentation to the address for process of service for each, as well as submitted online disputes once the withdrawal was recorded. However, I am hoping the CRAs are more savvy, given the number of withdrawals the IRS is now issuing. Who knows? What I do know is this....my hardcopy dispute letters were mailed on 21 March 2014 and today the PR is gone from all three reports.

 

Now my baddies are

 

- 2 late payments (30 and 60 day) on a closed account with Citi from Nov and Dec of 2013. (Closed with a balance, so reporting positively, after the lates. Not sure how FICO factors in closed accounts.)

- Late payment (30 day) on my Target account from Sept 2013.

 

Sent GW letters, multiples actually. Nada. I know the impact will decrease as they age. Once they are 12 months old, I will try again for some GW.

 

In the meantime, I am going to pay down my balances. I'm going to research asking for lower interest rates on my existing cards. I've also opted in, to see if I can get any BT offers. I only have one bankcard reporting. Still waiting on Barclay's to report my Upromise card. UGH. I would like to have one more bank card before the year is over, preferably a TU puller since I only have one inquiry on there.

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Sallie Mae was a bit of a beast. I have five total loans with them. Three are private loans and then two are consolidated loans. (The consolidated loan shows as one loan on my EX and TU, doesn't appear at all on EQ. The loans are divided into subsidized and unsubsidized, internally. I *believe* for interest tracking/accrual.)

 

In September of 2010 I took a lower paying job for a few months in order to study for a certification. I earned the certification in December of 2010 and got my first 30 day late on all three private loans the month prior. It progressed from there through April of 2011, so 30, 60, 90, 180. I entered a repayment agreement in April and they agreed to stop reporting it as late, as long as I made timely repayments for six months. They didn't report it as current, they just didn't report it. "ND" (No data) appeared in the following six months. The seventh month it was reported as "paid as agreed."

 

Late December, I sent a personal letter via CM to the Consumer Advocate at Sallie Mae. I included copies from all three reports of all three loans. On face value, they were all reporting differently and inconsistently. (Some jumped from 30 days to 90 days, others didn't make mathematical sense.) After the letter was received I called the Advocate and discussed my situation. I was told they would "research" it and let me know what the results were.

 

I then sent a letter to EX, EQ and TU and referenced my letter to the Advocate, including the CM number, but did NOT include the letter. I notified them I was disputing the trade lines and would like them deleted.

 

When the CRAs investigated, Sallie Mae only verified my payment history from May 2011 to present, so there is no reporting of anything prior, thereby deleting all the negatives. The account still reads as opened in 2001 and 2002 when I opened the accounts, so I didn't lose the age. These were the first to go in January.

 

I never heard from the advocate again. I made digital copies of all three reports in the event any of these items get "re-inserted" in the future. I'm guessing since the lates were over 24 months old that impacted the deletion. But I can't say for sure. I only make that correlation because another creditor agreed to delete any lates that were 24 months or older.

 

I've sent the advocate another letter about two weeks ago, asking that they report my consolidated loans to Equifax. They also aren't reporting the private loans to them, but I figured I'd let that sleeping dog rest. :blush:

Very valuable info...I had forgotten about this. I was working to remove SLM lates last year and received a written response to my first GW request, which included this line: "...it is Sallie Mae policy to report the last 24 months of account activity."

 

If I hadn't been successful on subsequent attempts, I was planning to try again at the 2-yr mark, in the hopes that they wouldn't respond to a CRA dispute, if the LPs were more than 2 years old, per this info in their letter. I was able to get them removed a couple of months later, but I wonder if this info has been "put to work" for others. ;)

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Very valuable info...I had forgotten about this. I was working to remove SLM lates last year and received a written response to my first GW request, which included this line: "...it is Sallie Mae policy to report the last 24 months of account activity."

 

If I hadn't been successful on subsequent attempts, I was planning to try again at the 2-yr mark, in the hopes that they wouldn't respond to a CRA dispute, if the LPs were more than 2 years old, per this info in their letter. I was able to get them removed a couple of months later, but I wonder if this info has been "put to work" for others. ;)

 

 

Yes, I think it was because it was past the 2 year mark. I think after two years the score impact decreases, but on manual review it looks better. Either way, I am glad to have those +180, +120, +90 days off of all my reports.

 

When you try, please keep us posted! I'm curious.....

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Very valuable info...I had forgotten about this. I was working to remove SLM lates last year and received a written response to my first GW request, which included this line: "...it is Sallie Mae policy to report the last 24 months of account activity."

 

If I hadn't been successful on subsequent attempts, I was planning to try again at the 2-yr mark, in the hopes that they wouldn't respond to a CRA dispute, if the LPs were more than 2 years old, per this info in their letter. I was able to get them removed a couple of months later, but I wonder if this info has been "put to work" for others. ;)

 

 

Yes, I think it was because it was past the 2 year mark. I think after two years the score impact decreases, but on manual review it looks better. Either way, I am glad to have those +180, +120, +90 days off of all my reports.

 

When you try, please keep us posted! I'm curious.....

 

If, by "you", you mean me...the LPs were removed last year, but not using this info. But if "you" was referring to anyone reading this thread...then I'm with ya...let us all know! I'm just curious, because Sallie Mae was a TOUGH nut to crack, and I'd love to see others reach their goals.

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Was reading another post about "sleeping dogs" and wanted to update my post to include another "hidden" baddie. (As background, I'm looking to obtain a mortgage in the next 12-18 months.) I had a judgment from 1999 in California (I was a resident, at the time). It fell off my reports after the allowable reporting period. The original creditor sold the debt to a CA. Judgments are good in California for 10 years, but are renewable for another 10 years if the renewal is requested prior to the expiration of the previous judgment.

 

This CA renewed the judgment and sent the notification to my old address in California. I had moved to NYC prior to the renewal. I had no idea it was renewed. I did notice an inquiry from the CA and sent them a letter asking what was the permissible purpose (believing the SOL on the judgment had tolled.) Then I learned that the judgment had been renewed and was still collectible for another 6 years. YIKES! Based on that, I knew that the moment a mortgage surfaced on my reports, they would be there to put a lien on my property. Or even before that....they could be attempting to levy my bank accounts and/or my wages. Double YIKES!

 

So I retained an attorney to fight the renewal. He filed a motion to vacate and the case will be before a judge by month's end. If that is unsuccessful, we'll try to negotiate for a lower dollar amount in exchange for a satisfaction of judgment.

 

In the meantime, I used the fact that this CA did not have the proper licensing to collect a debt from an NYC resident. Why? This stops them from being able to make inquiries on my report (continued collection activity) and will require them to either obtain a license or coordinate with an NYC law firm to resume activities. This keeps my income and assets safe...for a little bit.

 

Funny thing is...I would never have known they renewed the judgment if they had not put the hard inquiry on my report. In this instance paying attention and being informed helped me deal with this square on. YAY, CB!

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Reviewed my soft inquiries today and noticed softs from NCA on both Experian and Transunion from January and March. As far as I know, they have no permissible purpose to reviewing my credit reports. I created a PDF of the inquiries and uploaded them to CFPB to file a complaint.

They also don't have a debt collection agency license so they shouldn't be attempting to collect any debt from me. (CA are required to have these when attempting to collect a debt from an NYC resident.)

 

I know these were only softs, but since I have done a lot of cleanup between now and December, my collection score might be increasing. I don't recall any legitimate debts that aren't settled, but who knows what they might come up with....

 

Goals in the next 30 days

 

* Continue efforts toward b* (Transunion 1 target date 4/23/14, Equifax:8 - target date 6/9/14). Using SCP for TU b* and MPM for EQ b*. I also have EQC so hopefully there will be no chop page.

* Resist the urge to app :blush:

* Lower utilization (Currently at 54%, looking to get below 40%. This excludes Barclays, since it isn't reporting, it isn't factored in....)

* Lower balance on student loans

 

 

I also late last week sent out recon letters to Citi, Discover, BillMeLater....since I already burned the inquiry, might as well try. The letters included the withdrawal of the tax lien, Barclays statement and Sallie Mae loan installment, since they all pulled EQ. I also have 2 inq from DCU (account opening and credit app), but decided not to do recon, since they are inquiry freaks and didn't want to risk another one.

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The credit gods have smiled down upon me, today. Logged into EQ and my 30 day from Target is GONE! I've printed it and will protest in the event of re-insertion.

 

Checked Experian and TU and it remains on both of those. I may re-dispute in 90 days and see what happens. I'm not planning to app for anything in the next 3-6 months, so what is the worst thing that can happen.

 

Sending a letter to PNC today to ask for an account to be re-opened. I'm taking a bit of a liberty since the original account was opened in 2007 as a National City Bank secured card. I closed it in 2013. I going to send in current credit reports (EQ and EX) and ask if they will consider "re-opening" as an unsecured account. What's the worst that could happen? They tell me no? Meh. I'll take my chances. I'm hoping they can do a soft pull, since they are still on all my reports and that can be deemed a "relationship." So on second thought...the worst that can happen is a hard pull and a NO. Meh....it wouldn't be the first time.

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