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Improving My 620 Score, Tips and Tricks, Self Credit Builder Loan, Two Secured Credit Cards...

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I'm hoping I can get some tips on rebuilding my credit and really maximizing a higher score over the next six months.

My score has drastically improved from low 300s a few years ago and is now sitting at low 600's. I removed a lot of accounts and really cleaned up my report.

FICO 8; Experian - 604, Equifax - 620, TransUnion - 618

Most recently in the past month, I had a final collection removed from these accounts which boosted each of them to the above scores ~40 points.

My first step was getting a secured credit card. I have the Open Sky card with a $500 limit. It first reported on my credit report a few days ago and dropped each score 3-4 points, as expected. Any suggestions on maximizing this account to grow my score quicker?

Other accounts on my report include 4 closed US Department of Education Loans.

Three of them have balances - $6,000; $5,500; and $3,300 and 47 charge offs (Im looking to start paying these again as I have the means, especially if it can help my credit score). One of them is closed with $0 balance and 13 late payments.

I'm thinking of opening a Self Credit Builder Loan to help increase my score quicker. Does anyone have experience with this? Do you think it will help based on the above or hurt my score? Does anyone have experience if paying a larger monthly fee helps your score more or not?

I'm hoping to raise my score by ~70 points over the next six months so I can have my score in "Good" status and be approved to rent an apartment on my own - no guarantor.

Also, my bank is opening a secured card - Chime. I am close to being off the waitlist. Would another secured card hurt my credit? Is there any benefit?

Any tips, suggestions, experience with the above, etc would be greatly appreciated.

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Welcome to creditboards. This was a great resource for me when I started fixing my credit back in 2009. There's a lot of good stuff here. Be sure to use the search function.

 

I own an apartment complex in TX. We do credit checks on new tenants but we don't look that much at scores. Scores are more used by banks looking at lending. For us, any charge offs related to renting is a killer unless over 4 years old. Even then wit's iffy. 47 charge offs is quite a lot. How long ago were these and were they all caused by the same event? Some places might OK you depending on what your story is. Landlords don't really care about what happened in the past but look for patterns that indicate a repeat.

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Hey there @cashnocredit - thanks for your reply! 

 

All three student loans are from 2010. They have 47 charge offs because of being unpaid each month since August 2016 until June 2020 as of the latest.

 

I'm also based in NYC and I know that most landlords require a minimum 650 credit score. With a subsequent move in January coming up, I'm hoping to increase my scores to at least 650 so I can move on my own without a guarantor. I know that landlords look at other factors, as well, but in your opinion how much will they focus on these old student loans? I have lived with a roommate and they had their family as a guarantor, but I have paid $1500 a month in rent on the lease with a guarantor for 1 year and 1 year and 2 months without the guarantor. I also have a healthy savings added up.

 

Do you have any tips on proving to landlords that I'm making the right steps? I plan on paying my secured credit card on time so will have 6 months of on time payments with >10% credit utilization per month.

 

Should I start making my student loan payments again? Or perhaps look into rehabilitating them? I know this takes quite a bit of time.

 

Also, would having another secured card help increase my score quicker while I continue to navigate the student loans?

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3 hours ago, creditimprover said:

Hey there @cashnocredit - thanks for your reply! 

 

All three student loans are from 2010. They have 47 charge offs because of being unpaid each month since August 2016 until June 2020 as of the latest.

 

I'm also based in NYC and I know that most landlords require a minimum 650 credit score. With a subsequent move in January coming up, I'm hoping to increase my scores to at least 650 so I can move on my own without a guarantor. I know that landlords look at other factors, as well, but in your opinion how much will they focus on these old student loans? I have lived with a roommate and they had their family as a guarantor, but I have paid $1500 a month in rent on the lease with a guarantor for 1 year and 1 year and 2 months without the guarantor. I also have a healthy savings added up.

 

Good for you! That's great. You might show a potential landlord a savings account statement which shows you aren't living on the edge. To me that would be an unusual  positive for a potential tenant.

 

3 hours ago, creditimprover said:

Do you have any tips on proving to landlords that I'm making the right steps? I plan on paying my secured credit card on time so will have 6 months of on time payments with >10% credit utilization per month.

 

Should I start making my student loan payments again? Or perhaps look into rehabilitating them? I know this takes quite a bit of time.

 

Also, would having another secured card help increase my score quicker while I continue to navigate the student loans?

Yeah, I'd work on rehabbing your student loans. If you can pay them you should do so. As for adding more secured cards, it can't hurt. Generally, the first several cards you have will increase your scores as soon as the account reports with a low (under 5% of CL) balance. Try to have all cards except one report a 0 balance with one just above 0. That doesn't mean carrying a balance. Never, ever, carry a balance if you can help it. But letting a small balance report that you pay within the grace period is the way to go.

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I'd like to offer an alternative viewpoint.  When I was starting my rebuild, I didn't bother to let a small balance report.  The benefit of that can be minimal in your situation, and if you forget to pay by the due date you're out some ridiculous fee and may get another late.

 

I'd just pay in full and avoid the micromanaging.

 

Once you're reports are clear you can do the micromanaging thing.  I eventually gave up on that too because micromanaging 20 some CC accounts is pretty annoying.

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Thanks @pwd847!

 

I'm definitely going to pay off my balance in full every month. I won't leave anything and plan on keeping my utilization under 10%. Are you talking about the new secured card balance? 

 

Based on the above do you think I should get an additional secured card to help build quicker? I have been pre-approved for a Capital One secured card, but I'm not sure if the hard inquiry and new credit line will hurt my score? It won't really hurt the average age of credit because with my new card being opened a few weeks ago that's all I really have. 

 

I would only do it if it could help more than hurt over the next six months. 

 

Congrats on your rebuild! 

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I'm not sure about how it would help over a specific six month window.  I'm usually focused on the long run.

 

70 points in 6 months with derogatory marks remaining on your report seems like a pretty tall order.

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On 7/24/2020 at 4:32 PM, creditimprover said:

I'm thinking of opening a Self Credit Builder Loan to help increase my score quicker. Does anyone have experience with this? Do you think it will help based on the above or hurt my score? Does anyone have experience if paying a larger monthly fee helps your score more or not?

This isn't a good use of time, energy or money.

 

You already have at least one installment loan reporting.  I wouldn't recommend a 12-24 month installment loan even if you had 0 installments reporting, because the positive impact would vanish as soon as the loan is repaid.  

 

On 7/24/2020 at 4:32 PM, creditimprover said:

My first step was getting a secured credit card. I have the Open Sky card with a $500 limit.

Is this your only open revolver?  Gradually take steps up in quality until you have 5 revolvers.  

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On 7/24/2020 at 4:32 PM, creditimprover said:

Other accounts on my report include 4 closed US Department of Education Loans.

Three of them have balances - $6,000; $5,500; and $3,300 and 47 charge offs (Im looking to start paying these again as I have the means, especially if it can help my credit score). One of them is closed with $0 balance and 13 late payments.

Are you just seeing CO reported 47 times on your report for the delinquent loans?

In that case, you don’t have 47 charge-offs. You’d have 3 reporting multiple months of CO status - assuming the closed with $0 balance loan isn’t reporting as charged-off. 
I have no personal experience with student loans loans, but can’t they be rehabbed? And can’t a delinquent borrower that enters such a program have the delinquent reporting removed upon meeting certain requirements? I’m somewhat certain that I’ve read that somewhere in this forum. 

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2 hours ago, cv91915 said:

This isn't a good use of time, energy or money.

 

You already have at least one installment loan reporting.  I wouldn't recommend a 12-24 month installment loan even if you had 0 installments reporting, because the positive impact would vanish as soon as the loan is repaid.  

 

Is this your only open revolver?  Gradually take steps up in quality until you have 5 revolvers.  

 

Hey! Thanks for the feedback. I will avoid doing the Self loan.

 

And yes, this is my only open revolver. Would it be beneficial to open another card like the Capital One secured card so early (within weeks of each)? I was pre-approved but just want to make sure it won't do more damage in the short term (six months) than if I just build up on my Open Sky secured card for now.

I'm obviously in this for the long-term and will continue growing past six months but my first goal is to prove I can be rented an apartment which typically is around a 650 score in NYC. 

 

I'm planning to keep all balances below 10% utilization and have the means and mindset to make sure I pay them off. 


Ready to move forward in my rebuild and life. 

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1 hour ago, DPB said:

Are you just seeing CO reported 47 times on your report for the delinquent loans?

In that case, you don’t have 47 charge-offs. You’d have 3 reporting multiple months of CO status - assuming the closed with $0 balance loan isn’t reporting as charged-off. 
I have no personal experience with student loans loans, but can’t they be rehabbed? And can’t a delinquent borrower that enters such a program have the delinquent reporting removed upon meeting certain requirements? I’m somewhat certain that I’ve read that somewhere in this forum. 

Yes, that's the case! I think the way experian labels it is a bit misleading but I have 3 reporting multiple months of CO status. Good to know it's a bit different. 

 

And yes, I am working to rehab my loans now and have been doing a lot of research. It seems like it's going to take about 9 months for the rehab process and I may not be able to start until October because of the freeze on student loan interest / payments. This is definitely the goal for long term though because I've read of the extreme positive impacts it will have on my credit score / report. 

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, creditimprover said:

Yes, that's the case! I think the way experian labels it is a bit misleading but I have 3 reporting multiple months of CO status. Good to know it's a bit different. 

 

And yes, I am working to rehab my loans now and have been doing a lot of research. It seems like it's going to take about 9 months for the rehab process and I may not be able to start until October because of the freeze on student loan interest / payments. This is definitely the goal for long term though because I've read of the extreme positive impacts it will have on my credit score / report. 

So you have three charged-off student loans, one paid off student loan with lates, and one revolving secured credit card reporting. That’s great, compared to 47 different charge-offs! Rehabbing the loans ASAP is going to be the best place to start. I’d start calling immediately and see how quickly you can get the process started.
 

Others can chime in about additional cards. But it’s usually recommended to front-load your apps when you have a thin file. I’m not sure how the student loan situation affects that though. 

Edited by DPB

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18 hours ago, creditimprover said:

Would it be beneficial to open another card like the Capital One secured card so early (within weeks of each)? I was pre-approved but just want to make sure it won't do more damage in the short term (six months) than if I just build up on my Open Sky secured card for now.

Having just one open revolver is a liability to your profile.  

 

Adding to your Open Sky limit (I'm assuming that's what you mean by "build up") won't do anything that cannot be achieved by managing how much of a balance you let report ($50 balance reporting on a $500 limit is the same as a $100 balance reporting on a $1,000 limit).

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6 hours ago, cv91915 said:

Having just one open revolver is a liability to your profile.  

 

Adding to your Open Sky limit (I'm assuming that's what you mean by "build up") won't do anything that cannot be achieved by managing how much of a balance you let report ($50 balance reporting on a $500 limit is the same as a $100 balance reporting on a $1,000 limit).

Ahh, okay! This is all very new to me and I wasn't sure if having two card compared to one could help increase my score quicker because it reports more on time payments, keeps utilization low, and shows that i have more than one account. On experian, it keeps prompting me to open a new card because it says my credit file is thin / most people think 5 cards is a good number on your reports. Obviously, im not getting anywhere near five cards right now but I wanted to see the pros and cons of opening a second one right away.

 

Thank you! 

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11 hours ago, DPB said:

So you have three charged-off student loans, one paid off student loan with lates, and one revolving secured credit card reporting. That’s great, compared to 47 different charge-offs! Rehabbing the loans ASAP is going to be the best place to start. I’d start calling immediately and see how quickly you can get the process started.
 

Others can chime in about additional cards. But it’s usually recommended to front-load your apps when you have a thin file. I’m not sure how the student loan situation affects that though. 

Yes, it's a work in progress. Not something I'm particularly proud of but I feel so good about the progress I've made and am going to continue making - it's such a sigh of relief to be able to pay off your loans / get your credit score and profile in order. 

 

Experian keeps prompting me to open another card because it says that at least 5 open accounts is best. Obviously not going to open five accounts during this rebuild process but I wasn't sure the pros and cons of opening just another card to help rebuild my credit alongside the Open Sky. This is all very helpful though so thank you!

 

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1 hour ago, creditimprover said:

Ahh, okay! This is all very new to me

That's why we're here.  :)  

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1 hour ago, hegemony said:

do you have netflix?

I don't but I have Spotify and other services! I was planning to actually just put one service on the card and ONLY use it for that. This way it's easy to manage and I can set up automatic payments / stay on top of it. 

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1 hour ago, cv91915 said:

That's why we're here.  :)  

You all have been so helpful. Thank you so much. 

I'll make sure to keep everyone updated on my journey. I'm so glad I found this platform. So much great insight. 

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I would definitely go for the CapOne secured.  It has no annual fee and they are pretty good about unsecuring after a year.  May drop your score temporarily, but after a few months it will help to have at least 2 open positive accounts instead of just one.

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13 hours ago, WestCoastKid said:

I would definitely go for the CapOne secured.  It has no annual fee and they are pretty good about unsecuring after a year.  May drop your score temporarily, but after a few months it will help to have at least 2 open positive accounts instead of just one.

Definitely! Planning on applying today to help build out my credit file. Hoping it doesn't drop too much.

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Hi all!

 

Approved for the Cap One Secured platinum card. I was required to submit a deposit of $49 for a $200 credit limit (which is the lowest deposit - so that's a good sign.) Great news, it appears that it didn't affect my FICO scores but dropped my VantageScore on Equifax from Credit Karma by only 1 point - nothing to cry over.

 

Does anyone have any suggestions on increasing my limit? See below from Capital One.

 

"Your minimum security deposit requirement gets you a $200 initial credit line. You have until Sept. 2, 2020 to make deposits.
You can also deposit more than the minimum required security deposit to get a higher initial credit line before you activate your card. You can increase your initial Credit Line up to $1,000."

 

I plan to just put my $7.99 a month Spotify purchase on this card and nothing else. Should I still increase? I also have my $500 limit Open Sky account.

 

My goal is to keep my total balance below 10% and potentially even below 7%.

 

Thanks all! 

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38 minutes ago, creditimprover said:

Hi all!

 

Approved for the Cap One Secured platinum card. I was required to submit a deposit of $49 for a $200 credit limit (which is the lowest deposit - so that's a good sign.) Great news, it appears that it didn't affect my FICO scores but dropped my VantageScore on Equifax from Credit Karma by only 1 point - nothing to cry over.

 

 

congrats!

 

What do you mean by affecting these scores? Is the tradeline reporting already? BTW, ignore FAKE scores,

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1 hour ago, hegemony said:

congrats!

 

What do you mean by affecting these scores? Is the tradeline reporting already? BTW, ignore FAKE scores,

It just affected my score because of the hard inquiry they placed for the application. Tradeline hasn't reported yet. 

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