Hello Everyone, I am starting this thread to document my rebuild process after a personally disastrous 2019 which left my credit reports in total shambles. My hope here is, as the site goes live, I can provide knowledge on what NOT to do when you run into financial difficulties, how I dealt with my baddies once it was too late, and possibly provide inspiration for those who think there is simply no hope for their credit files. This thread will focus entirely on my rebuild process, but if you want to read about the spree I went on after, click here . This is going to be a novel, so grab a cup of coffee and settle in if you feel so inclined. While 2020 (COVID) was the year that sunk so many people, my financial problems actually began in 2019. I knew very little about credit scoring at this time, but I had begun to understand how credit cards rewards worked, and I had amassed a decent starter lineup of rewards and store cards. These included a Merrick Bank starter card (unsecured with no rewards), a Capital One Quicksilver (QS), a Capital One Savor One, a Chase Freedom Flex (CFF), a Wal-Mart store card (Synchrony Bank), a CFNA Firestone store card, a Helzberg Diamonds (TBOM) store card, a Kohls (Cap One) store card, a Conn's (Synchrony Bank) store card, and an installment loan from Lending Club. My FICOs fluctuated between the mid to high 600s due to reported utilization, but I was in a decent place score wise, and my little starter lineup wasn't bad although I had no clue back then that I had entirely too many store cards. I won't bore you with too many details of what let to my financial disaster, but the short version is that my daughter was born in late 2018, there were medical bills involving her mother (who had limited insurance) that I charged to CCs, buying all the stuff you 'need' for a new child, etc. Then, her mother and I decided we would not be staying together to raise our child together, and as it turns out...lawyers are really expensive. At the same time, problems with my job arose, and like so many people, I ended up with maxed out credit cards, and I made the incredibly stupid decision to take out 2 predatory installment loans which of course just piled debt onto my situation with no real plan to be able to pay it back. Robbing Peter to pay Paul was an understatement in how I shuffled money around just to make minimum payments on all this debt. The total amount of debt I had was in excess of $25K which was insurmountable for me, and my FICOs were in the low to mid 600s at this point due to incredibly high revolving and installment utilization. All of the sudden, the ability to borrow more money (which is incredibly stupid anyway) to pay current debts was no longer an option for me, and I began to default on many of my debts. I did try to make a conscious effort to 'decide' which debts I would just let go bad and which ones I would try to salvage (don't do this!). By late 2019 to early 2020, here was my credit file: FICOs: Low 500s (I have no reference for exact scores from exact CRAs) Current Revolvers: Cap One Savor One - $750 CL - Maxed Out CFNA Firestone - $1200 CL - probably 50%-60% utilized Wal-Mart Store Card - $400 CL - Maxed Out Kohls Store Card - $300 CL - Maxed Out Current Installment Loan: Lending Club - Original $15K Loan with a $12K Balance (I had kept this one current through deferred payments, and robbing Peter to pay Paul bc my Mother had co-signed for me, and I was determined not to destroy her credit too.) Revolving Baddies: Cap One QS - Charged Off (CO) $0 balance - Sold to Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA) Merrick Bank - CO $2100 balance CFF - CO $2250 balance Conn's (Synchrony) - CO $0 balance - Sold to PRA Helzberg (TBOM) - CO $0 balance - Sold to another lender (CA never appeared) Installment Baddies: Predatory Loan 1 - Regional Finance - CO $6K balance Predatory Loan 2 - Continental Credit - CO $1700 balance Collection Accounts (CA): PRA - Cap One QS - $2500 balance PRA - Conn's (Synchrony) - $2200 balance Delinquent Recovery - Medical Debt - $175 So, I had almost everything bad you can have. Revolving COs, Installment COs, CA's, my current cards were maxed, and my one current loan was borderline predatory with a pretty high balance. I let my file sit like this almost 2 years making just the minimum payments on my 1 bankcard, 3 store cards, and loan that weren't in default, seeing the balances never trend downward, and feeling like there was no way I was ever getting out of this, and all I knew was that bad stuff falls off your credit eventually, so I would have no chance of credit for the foreseeable future. In early 2021, my National Guard unit was mobilized for a deployment to the Middle East (my 4th), and I decided then and there that this was my chance. While deployment overseas is one of the hardest things you and your family can ever go through, it can be financially lucrative for Soldiers, and I knew I would have some money to attempt to crawl out of this hole. I sold my car shortly before deploying, and I set the following goals for myself...pay off my debts (current and derogatory), save any money left over that I could for a down payment on a vehicle, and try to salvage my credit enough to be able to finance a vehicle when I got home. I made a plan and budget for dealing with my current debts, and by June 2021, I had my current CCs paid to $0 (I learned about AZEO later, LOL), and had taken a big chunk out of my installment loan. Just by doing that, my FICOs were in the high 500s/low 600s, and I was pretty encouraged. Here's the thing though...when it came to my baddies, I had no clue what to do or even how to begin. Like so many others in this day and age, I turned to the Internet for help, and amazingly enough, instead of getting sucked into the YouTube credit 'magicians', I found a Reddit sub called r/CRedit. I started to read threads, search threads, and eventually ask questions. Through incredible luck or divine intervention, instead of, "Just dispute and it'll all go away!" advice, I met some incredibly knowledgeable people who offered very sound advice (for the most part), and one day...in a thread about installment loan COs, a guy who called himself Birdman jumped into the thread to 'scold' us all (me in particular, LOL) about how none of us knew what we were talking about, and then proceeded to write an incredibly helpful and detailed breakdown of the topic to set us all straight. The next day, I DM'd him, told him my credit was trash, that I was clueless about what to do, and asked if he would be willing to answer my individual questions and help me. I didn't know it at the time, but it might have been the most fortunate 'chance' online encounter someone could ever hope for. To actually begin my rebuild, I had read a thread about medical collections and something called a Pay-For-Delete (PFD), that I had never heard of, nor had any clue why it was important, but I decided to dive in. I called Delinquent Recovery, told them I had a medical collection with them, and that I wanted to pay it. The gentleman looked up my account, said, 'Yea, you owe $175." I asked if they would PFD in exchange for payment, and he confirmed that they would. I paid the $175, and about 2 weeks later I noticed the CA was gone from my reports, and I got a 5-7 point score bump across the CRAs. I thought, 'Wow! This is easy!'. Lol. Unfortunately, the rest of my debts were much more than $175, and I started reading threads about Paying in Full (PIF), vs settling for less. Birdman confirmed that there was absolutely no scoring difference between the 2, and explained that it could possibly make a difference in a future credit application under human review, but that he advised me to go ahead and take settlement offers whenever they were available, and that getting CO balances to report $0 and CAs to PFD was the biggest goal. I decided I would attempt to tackle my Chase CO next as Chase was my primary bank (at the time). I started some research, and learned that Chase seems to have the 'elephant never forgets' memory of the credit world, and that, if I ever realistically wanted to do credit business with them again, I needed to PIF. However, even though Chase still owned the CO debt, they had assigned it to a CA that wasn't reporting. I really wanted to pay Chase directly, but it wasn't an option in my Chase app or online, and it just gave me a number to call a CA. A really helpful guy, who goes by mickvain on Reddit, told me I could call Chase directly, and ask them to recall my debt from collections. It's usually most advantageous to do this when a lender has assigned a debt to collections and you have an associated CA on your reports. Even though no CA was reporting on mine, I called Chase, and after a little haggling and promising I would PIF, the rep agreed to recall the debt from collections, and I made full payment of my CO debt directly to Chase. The very next day my Chase CO account was updated to reflect a $0 balance with the remark 'Paid, after charge off'. I was pretty dejected when this resulted in absolutely no score increase. A DM to Birdman asking 'WTF!?' about this led to a long, in-depth chat about how I still had another revolving CO with a balance reporting and FICO revolving utilization metrics, and the chat ended with him telling me something about this thing called a 'Primer' that I needed to read. LOL. Folks, it was right here that I discovered my intense passion for this subject, and the last few months have been a blur of reading, research, discussions, chats, and watching every single hiccup my credit scores make and being so excited that I understand exactly why. But, I digress, and we'll talk about me being a FICO metrics junkie now at another time. I decided my Merrick CO was next, so I would have no more revolving COs affecting my revolving utilization metrics, and I should see a score increase. I called Merrick Bank, and was referred to their in-house CA, Carson Smithfield, and given a website. When I entered my info to see my account, I was pleasantly surprised that they were offering a settlement of $850 to settle my $2100 balance. Knowing what I know now, I might have called to see if I could negotiate even lower, but I was happy to settle for a mere 40% of my balance owed, and I made the payment online. Just 3 days later, my Merrick CO was updated to a $0 balance with the remark 'legally settled for less than the full amount', and I got a nice 25-30 point score increase across the CRAs. My FICO 8s now ranged from 635-660 across the CRAs. It was time to attack the collections next. I had 2 CAs, both with PRA, remaining at this point. As I began conducting research on settling these, a serious run of luck occurred. First, as most of us know, PRA just does PFD as standard policy, so I wouldn't even have to try to negotiate PFDs. Second, while I know now about Synchrony Bank and their famous 'purges' of derogatory accounts, it was at this time that both my Synchrony Bank Original Creditor (OC) CO tradeline and Capital One OC CO tradeline (which had both been sold to PRA) simply vanished from my reports. I can't say why or how (I did not request goodwill removal that never works for a CO anyway), but both OC CO accounts just vanished. More determined than ever, I called PRA to negotiate settlement agreements. I know it's weird to 'praise' a debt collector, but I can't say enough good things about PRA. My rep was polite and helpful. Their initial offer was 75% of the balance of each account, and I countered with 50%. She went to her supervisor with the offer, and returned saying they could not go that low, but would accept 65% of each. I might have been able to negotiate lower, but these 2 CAs were less than 2 years old and well within the Statute of Limitations (SOL) in Oklahoma, so I agreed to settle for 65%, and paid over the phone right then. Good as their word, PRA deleted both tradelines approximately 30 days after I paid the agreed settlement amount. It was at this point that I realized that my only 2 unresolved baddies left...2 installment loan COs...were only reporting to TU and EQ, and not EX. Another (temporary) stroke of luck for me. With no Public Records (PR) left on my reports, this reassigned me from scorecard D3 to D2 on all 3 reports, and with no revolving debt of any kind left and the installment baddies only reporting to TU and EQ, my FICO 8s shot up to EX: 701; TU: 671; EQ 660. I still had baddies, resolved and unresolved, all over my reports, yet my FICO scores were in the 'good' range. You can't fix it perfectly overnight, but you can achieve pretty decent scores fairly quickly. My rebuild saga is actually incomplete just yet, as this is when I realized that with my return to the States getting close and with my much improved FICO 8s, I actually could begin my spree to acquire some big boy credit cards and my auto loan for when I got home even though my last 2 baddies have not been resolved yet. Folks, it was by the grace of God, karma, the cosmos, amazing luck, and the timely advice of Birdman that I did it when I did, bc one of my installment CO lenders very recently and literally within 3 days of my credit application for the last products I wanted before planting in the garden decided to pull the oldest trick in their book. Last week, the worse of my installment COs with an $8K balance, which had been reporting only to TU and EQ for the past 2 years, must have seen my credit activity, and decided to report to EX for the first time ever plummeting my EX FICO 8 from 704 to 637. Had I waited just 3 more days to pull the trigger my last credit applications, there's no way I would have been approved for the lineup I currently possess. I will be tackling the last 2 baddies shortly after I complete my already approved auto loan, and will comment on this thread as my new accounts report and my last 2 baddies get resolved on my progress. Lessons Learned: 1. Use your credit cards as an extension of your debit card. Never charge items you can't actually pay for unless it is an absolute emergency. A PS5 is not an emergency. Use your CCs responsibly, pay them off every month, and make your creditors pay YOU in rewards vs you paying them in interest. 2. Never accrue more debt just to pay off your existing debts. If you consider a debt consolidation loan, you must have the discipline to not just accrue more debt on your CCs leaving you in worse shape and more debt than when you started. If you can't do this, cut up your cards, or don't take out the loan. You're just making things worse for yourself. 3. If you get in financial trouble and are having trouble making your payments, TALK TO YOUR LENDERS. In the COVID era we're in, lenders are often bending over backwards to offer some kind of arrangement to keep you from defaulting on your debts. I decided to let some of my debts default, and I'll be paying for it score wise for 6 more years. The one lender I actually talked to during my trouble was Lending Club (bc I didn't want to ruin my Mom's credit), and they accommodated every request I made. Ask for help. Don't just 'let it go' like I did. 4. Get rid of collections in any way you can. Call OCs and ask them to recall, negotiate PFDs with CAs, etc. Do anything you can to get them off your reports in exchange for your payment/settlement. Don't be afraid of CAs. I know there are some real shady ones out there, but the ones I dealt with simply wanted their money, and were fine deleting their tradelines once I paid them. 5. Motto of the credit repair world: "You Never Know Until You Ask". Ask for everything...PFDs, low settlement amounts, payment arrangements,...anything. Ask. Yes, it ultimately takes some cash to settle debts, but it may not be near as much as you think. 6. Paying/settling your derogatory tradelines CAN result in immediate help to your credit scores. As you read in my story, not every improved account results in a score increase, but the myth that paying your debts won't help your score needs to die. You can't achieve 800 FICOs in 2 months, but you can raise paltry, 500 FICOs (like mine were) into the high 600s and even 700s relatively quickly which will qualify you for many credit products. Check my signature for proof. If you made it this far, I hope I provided some information or inspiration useful to someone. I will update in the comments of this thread as the last chapters of my rebuild unfold. Until next time...
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My Rebuild Story (A Credit Rebel Saga I)

1 of 20
3 years ago
Sat Oct 16, 2021 8:27 pm
User avatar
SoonerSoldier33
Seasoned RebelTeam Cash Back
Level6 Last INQMonday, November 27, 2023 Gardening For6 months, 23 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes Next Level in7 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes on June 27th INQ 1yr onWednesday, November 27, 2024 INQ 1yr in5 months, 7 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes INQ 2yr onThursday, November 27, 2025 INQ 2yr in1 year, 5 months, 7 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes Goal24 months Goal DateThursday, November 27, 2025 Goal In1 year, 5 months, 7 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes
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Hello Everyone, I am starting this thread to document my rebuild process after a personally disastrous 2019 which left my credit reports in total shambles. My hope here is, as the site goes live, I can provide knowledge on what NOT to do when you run into financial difficulties, how I dealt with my baddies once it was too late, and possibly provide inspiration for those who think there is simply no hope for their credit files. This thread will focus entirely on my rebuild process, but if you want to read about the spree I went on after, click here. This is going to be a novel, so grab a cup of coffee and settle in if you feel so inclined. While 2020 (COVID) was the year that sunk so many people, my financial problems actually began in 2019. I knew very little about credit scoring at this time, but I had begun to understand how credit cards rewards worked, and I had amassed a decent starter lineup of rewards and store cards. These included a Merrick Bank starter card (unsecured with no rewards), a Capital One Quicksilver (QS), a Capital One Savor One, a Chase Freedom Flex (CFF), a Wal-Mart store card (Synchrony Bank), a CFNA Firestone store card, a Helzberg Diamonds (TBOM) store card, a Kohls (Cap One) store card, a Conn's (Synchrony Bank) store card, and an installment loan from Lending Club. My FICOs fluctuated between the mid to high 600s due to reported utilization, but I was in a decent place score wise, and my little starter lineup wasn't bad although I had no clue back then that I had entirely too many store cards. I won't bore you with too many details of what let to my financial disaster, but the short version is that my daughter was born in late 2018, there were medical bills involving her mother (who had limited insurance) that I charged to CCs, buying all the stuff you 'need' for a new child, etc. Then, her mother and I decided we would not be staying together to raise our child together, and as it turns out...lawyers are really expensive. At the same time, problems with my job arose, and like so many people, I ended up with maxed out credit cards, and I made the incredibly stupid decision to take out 2 predatory installment loans which of course just piled debt onto my situation with no real plan to be able to pay it back. Robbing Peter to pay Paul was an understatement in how I shuffled money around just to make minimum payments on all this debt. The total amount of debt I had was in excess of $25K which was insurmountable for me, and my FICOs were in the low to mid 600s at this point due to incredibly high revolving and installment utilization. All of the sudden, the ability to borrow more money (which is incredibly stupid anyway) to pay current debts was no longer an option for me, and I began to default on many of my debts. I did try to make a conscious effort to 'decide' which debts I would just let go bad and which ones I would try to salvage (don't do this!). By late 2019 to early 2020, here was my credit file: FICOs: Low 500s (I have no reference for exact scores from exact CRAs) Current Revolvers: Cap One Savor One - $750 CL - Maxed Out CFNA Firestone - $1200 CL - probably 50%-60% utilized Wal-Mart Store Card - $400 CL - Maxed Out Kohls Store Card - $300 CL - Maxed Out Current Installment Loan: Lending Club - Original $15K Loan with a $12K Balance (I had kept this one current through deferred payments, and robbing Peter to pay Paul bc my Mother had co-signed for me, and I was determined not to destroy her credit too.) Revolving Baddies: Cap One QS - Charged Off (CO) $0 balance - Sold to Portfolio Recovery Associates (PRA) Merrick Bank - CO $2100 balance CFF - CO $2250 balance Conn's (Synchrony) - CO $0 balance - Sold to PRA Helzberg (TBOM) - CO $0 balance - Sold to another lender (CA never appeared) Installment Baddies: Predatory Loan 1 - Regional Finance - CO $6K balance Predatory Loan 2 - Continental Credit - CO $1700 balance Collection Accounts (CA): PRA - Cap One QS - $2500 balance PRA - Conn's (Synchrony) - $2200 balance Delinquent Recovery - Medical Debt - $175 So, I had almost everything bad you can have. Revolving COs, Installment COs, CA's, my current cards were maxed, and my one current loan was borderline predatory with a pretty high balance. I let my file sit like this almost 2 years making just the minimum payments on my 1 bankcard, 3 store cards, and loan that weren't in default, seeing the balances never trend downward, and feeling like there was no way I was ever getting out of this, and all I knew was that bad stuff falls off your credit eventually, so I would have no chance of credit for the foreseeable future. In early 2021, my National Guard unit was mobilized for a deployment to the Middle East (my 4th), and I decided then and there that this was my chance. While deployment overseas is one of the hardest things you and your family can ever go through, it can be financially lucrative for Soldiers, and I knew I would have some money to attempt to crawl out of this hole. I sold my car shortly before deploying, and I set the following goals for myself...pay off my debts (current and derogatory), save any money left over that I could for a down payment on a vehicle, and try to salvage my credit enough to be able to finance a vehicle when I got home. I made a plan and budget for dealing with my current debts, and by June 2021, I had my current CCs paid to $0 (I learned about AZEO later, LOL), and had taken a big chunk out of my installment loan. Just by doing that, my FICOs were in the high 500s/low 600s, and I was pretty encouraged. Here's the thing though...when it came to my baddies, I had no clue what to do or even how to begin. Like so many others in this day and age, I turned to the Internet for help, and amazingly enough, instead of getting sucked into the YouTube credit 'magicians', I found a Reddit sub called r/CRedit. I started to read threads, search threads, and eventually ask questions. Through incredible luck or divine intervention, instead of, "Just dispute and it'll all go away!" advice, I met some incredibly knowledgeable people who offered very sound advice (for the most part), and one day...in a thread about installment loan COs, a guy who called himself @Birdman jumped into the thread to 'scold' us all (me in particular, LOL) about how none of us knew what we were talking about, and then proceeded to write an incredibly helpful and detailed breakdown of the topic to set us all straight. The next day, I DM'd him, told him my credit was trash, that I was clueless about what to do, and asked if he would be willing to answer my individual questions and help me. I didn't know it at the time, but it might have been the most fortunate 'chance' online encounter someone could ever hope for. To actually begin my rebuild, I had read a thread about medical collections and something called a Pay-For-Delete (PFD), that I had never heard of, nor had any clue why it was important, but I decided to dive in. I called Delinquent Recovery, told them I had a medical collection with them, and that I wanted to pay it. The gentleman looked up my account, said, 'Yea, you owe $175." I asked if they would PFD in exchange for payment, and he confirmed that they would. I paid the $175, and about 2 weeks later I noticed the CA was gone from my reports, and I got a 5-7 point score bump across the CRAs. I thought, 'Wow! This is easy!'. Lol. Unfortunately, the rest of my debts were much more than $175, and I started reading threads about Paying in Full (PIF), vs settling for less. @Birdman confirmed that there was absolutely no scoring difference between the 2, and explained that it could possibly make a difference in a future credit application under human review, but that he advised me to go ahead and take settlement offers whenever they were available, and that getting CO balances to report $0 and CAs to PFD was the biggest goal. I decided I would attempt to tackle my Chase CO next as Chase was my primary bank (at the time). I started some research, and learned that Chase seems to have the 'elephant never forgets' memory of the credit world, and that, if I ever realistically wanted to do credit business with them again, I needed to PIF. However, even though Chase still owned the CO debt, they had assigned it to a CA that wasn't reporting. I really wanted to pay Chase directly, but it wasn't an option in my Chase app or online, and it just gave me a number to call a CA. A really helpful guy, who goes by @mickvain on Reddit, told me I could call Chase directly, and ask them to recall my debt from collections. It's usually most advantageous to do this when a lender has assigned a debt to collections and you have an associated CA on your reports. Even though no CA was reporting on mine, I called Chase, and after a little haggling and promising I would PIF, the rep agreed to recall the debt from collections, and I made full payment of my CO debt directly to Chase. The very next day my Chase CO account was updated to reflect a $0 balance with the remark 'Paid, after charge off'. I was pretty dejected when this resulted in absolutely no score increase. A DM to @Birdman asking 'WTF!?' about this led to a long, in-depth chat about how I still had another revolving CO with a balance reporting and FICO revolving utilization metrics, and the chat ended with him telling me something about this thing called a 'Primer' that I needed to read. LOL. Folks, it was right here that I discovered my intense passion for this subject, and the last few months have been a blur of reading, research, discussions, chats, and watching every single hiccup my credit scores make and being so excited that I understand exactly why. But, I digress, and we'll talk about me being a FICO metrics junkie now at another time. I decided my Merrick CO was next, so I would have no more revolving COs affecting my revolving utilization metrics, and I should see a score increase. I called Merrick Bank, and was referred to their in-house CA, Carson Smithfield, and given a website. When I entered my info to see my account, I was pleasantly surprised that they were offering a settlement of $850 to settle my $2100 balance. Knowing what I know now, I might have called to see if I could negotiate even lower, but I was happy to settle for a mere 40% of my balance owed, and I made the payment online. Just 3 days later, my Merrick CO was updated to a $0 balance with the remark 'legally settled for less than the full amount', and I got a nice 25-30 point score increase across the CRAs. My FICO 8s now ranged from 635-660 across the CRAs. It was time to attack the collections next. I had 2 CAs, both with PRA, remaining at this point. As I began conducting research on settling these, a serious run of luck occurred. First, as most of us know, PRA just does PFD as standard policy, so I wouldn't even have to try to negotiate PFDs. Second, while I know now about Synchrony Bank and their famous 'purges' of derogatory accounts, it was at this time that both my Synchrony Bank Original Creditor (OC) CO tradeline and Capital One OC CO tradeline (which had both been sold to PRA) simply vanished from my reports. I can't say why or how (I did not request goodwill removal that never works for a CO anyway), but both OC CO accounts just vanished. More determined than ever, I called PRA to negotiate settlement agreements. I know it's weird to 'praise' a debt collector, but I can't say enough good things about PRA. My rep was polite and helpful. Their initial offer was 75% of the balance of each account, and I countered with 50%. She went to her supervisor with the offer, and returned saying they could not go that low, but would accept 65% of each. I might have been able to negotiate lower, but these 2 CAs were less than 2 years old and well within the Statute of Limitations (SOL) in Oklahoma, so I agreed to settle for 65%, and paid over the phone right then. Good as their word, PRA deleted both tradelines approximately 30 days after I paid the agreed settlement amount. It was at this point that I realized that my only 2 unresolved baddies left...2 installment loan COs...were only reporting to TU and EQ, and not EX. Another (temporary) stroke of luck for me. With no Public Records (PR) left on my reports, this reassigned me from scorecard D3 to D2 on all 3 reports, and with no revolving debt of any kind left and the installment baddies only reporting to TU and EQ, my FICO 8s shot up to EX: 701; TU: 671; EQ 660. I still had baddies, resolved and unresolved, all over my reports, yet my FICO scores were in the 'good' range. You can't fix it perfectly overnight, but you can achieve pretty decent scores fairly quickly. My rebuild saga is actually incomplete just yet, as this is when I realized that with my return to the States getting close and with my much improved FICO 8s, I actually could begin my spree to acquire some big boy credit cards and my auto loan for when I got home even though my last 2 baddies have not been resolved yet. Folks, it was by the grace of God, karma, the cosmos, amazing luck, and the timely advice of @Birdman that I did it when I did, bc one of my installment CO lenders very recently and literally within 3 days of my credit application for the last products I wanted before planting in the garden decided to pull the oldest trick in their book. Last week, the worse of my installment COs with an $8K balance, which had been reporting only to TU and EQ for the past 2 years, must have seen my credit activity, and decided to report to EX for the first time ever plummeting my EX FICO 8 from 704 to 637. Had I waited just 3 more days to pull the trigger my last credit applications, there's no way I would have been approved for the lineup I currently possess. I will be tackling the last 2 baddies shortly after I complete my already approved auto loan, and will comment on this thread as my new accounts report and my last 2 baddies get resolved on my progress. Lessons Learned: 1. Use your credit cards as an extension of your debit card. Never charge items you can't actually pay for unless it is an absolute emergency. A PS5 is not an emergency. Use your CCs responsibly, pay them off every month, and make your creditors pay YOU in rewards vs you paying them in interest. 2. Never accrue more debt just to pay off your existing debts. If you consider a debt consolidation loan, you must have the discipline to not just accrue more debt on your CCs leaving you in worse shape and more debt than when you started. If you can't do this, cut up your cards, or don't take out the loan. You're just making things worse for yourself. 3. If you get in financial trouble and are having trouble making your payments, TALK TO YOUR LENDERS. In the COVID era we're in, lenders are often bending over backwards to offer some kind of arrangement to keep you from defaulting on your debts. I decided to let some of my debts default, and I'll be paying for it score wise for 6 more years. The one lender I actually talked to during my trouble was Lending Club (bc I didn't want to ruin my Mom's credit), and they accommodated every request I made. Ask for help. Don't just 'let it go' like I did. 4. Get rid of collections in any way you can. Call OCs and ask them to recall, negotiate PFDs with CAs, etc. Do anything you can to get them off your reports in exchange for your payment/settlement. Don't be afraid of CAs. I know there are some real shady ones out there, but the ones I dealt with simply wanted their money, and were fine deleting their tradelines once I paid them. 5. Motto of the credit repair world: "You Never Know Until You Ask". Ask for everything...PFDs, low settlement amounts, payment arrangements,...anything. Ask. Yes, it ultimately takes some cash to settle debts, but it may not be near as much as you think. 6. Paying/settling your derogatory tradelines CAN result in immediate help to your credit scores. As you read in my story, not every improved account results in a score increase, but the myth that paying your debts won't help your score needs to die. You can't achieve 800 FICOs in 2 months, but you can raise paltry, 500 FICOs (like mine were) into the high 600s and even 700s relatively quickly which will qualify you for many credit products. Check my signature for proof. If you made it this far, I hope I provided some information or inspiration useful to someone. I will update in the comments of this thread as the last chapters of my rebuild unfold. Until next time...
SoonerSoldier33
User avatar
  • Score data TU FICO 8: 641 EQ FICO 8: 616 EX FICO 8: 649
6
Post

Re: My Rebuild Story (A Credit Rebel Saga)

2 of 20
3 years ago
Sat Oct 16, 2021 9:55 pm
User avatar
LaHossBoss
Outlier
LaHossBoss has been gardening for over 2 years.
Level30 Last INQThursday, December 9, 2021 Gardening For2 years, 6 months, 10 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes Next Level in19 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes on July 9th INQ 1yr onFriday, December 9, 2022 INQ 1yr reached1 year, 6 months, 10 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago INQ 2yr onSaturday, December 9, 2023 INQ 2yr reached6 months, 10 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago
@SoonerSoldier33 thank you so much for your rebuild story! Excellent advice and you have certainly made strides in a short time with determination. Good luck with your continued rebuild!
LaHossBoss
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  • Score data EQ 8: 690 9: 655 5: 668 TU 8: 704 9: 658 4: 719 EX 8: 729 9: 642 2: 746
3
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Re: My Rebuild Story (A Credit Rebel Saga)

3 of 20
3 years ago
Sat Oct 16, 2021 11:23 pm
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Kkboom
Share Secured Rebel
What a journey. Life takes us through so much. Truly thanking you for serving and also for your contributions here!
Kkboom
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  • Score data EQ8:826 TU8:734 EX8:829
3
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Re: My Rebuild Story (A Credit Rebel Saga)

4 of 20
3 years ago
Sat Oct 16, 2021 11:44 pm
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Birdman
Primer AuthorCo-Founder
Birdman has been gardening for over 2 years.
Level27 Last INQWednesday, March 2, 2022 Gardening For2 years, 3 months, 17 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes Next Level in12 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes on July 2nd INQ 1yr onThursday, March 2, 2023 INQ 1yr reached1 year, 3 months, 17 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago INQ 2yr onSaturday, March 2, 2024 INQ 2yr reached3 months, 17 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago
@SoonerSoldier33 excellent testimonial and I know future rebels will find it very helpful and we are all looking forward to the rebuild spree thread! You have done a remarkable job, it is nothing sort short of exemplary, and yes timing played a critical role, you are blessed!
Birdman
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  • Score data EQ8-827; TU8-817; EX8-816
    EQ5-751; TI4- 800; EX2-814
3
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Re: My Rebuild Story (A Credit Rebel Saga I)

5 of 20
3 years ago
Sun Oct 17, 2021 1:19 am
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Cassie
DeveloperLoves long talks on the beach
Cassie has been gardening for over 2 years.
Level52 Last INQFriday, February 14, 2020 Gardening For4 years, 4 months, 5 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes Next Level in24 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes on July 14th INQ 1yr onSunday, February 14, 2021 INQ 1yr reached3 years, 4 months, 5 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago INQ 2yr onMonday, February 14, 2022 INQ 2yr reached2 years, 4 months, 5 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago
SoonerSoldier33 wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 8:27 pm So, I had almost everything bad you can have. Revolving COs, Installment COs, CA's, my current cards were maxed, and my one current loan was borderline predatory with a pretty high balance. I let my file sit like this almost 2 years making just the minimum payments on my 1 bankcard, 3 store cards, and loan that weren't in default, seeing the balances never trend downward, and feeling like there was no way I was ever getting out of this, and all I knew was that bad stuff falls off your credit eventually, so I would have no chance of credit for the foreseeable future.
I'm glad to have read that. Your story, and what you've learned, are going to help a whole lot of people. I think you and @LaHossBoss make pretty much any 'credit repair organization' redundant at this point. What can they possibly do that the two of you don't already know, right?
Cassie
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  • Score data EQ8:792 TU8:789 EX8:788 (Nov 15)
3
Post

Re: My Rebuild Story (A Credit Rebel Saga I)

6 of 20
3 years ago
Sun Oct 17, 2021 2:04 am
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Saeren
Rebel Administrator
Level1 Last INQFriday, May 3, 2024 Gardening For1 month, 16 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes Next Level in13 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes on July 3rd INQ 1yr onSaturday, May 3, 2025 INQ 1yr in10 months, 13 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes INQ 2yr onSunday, May 3, 2026 INQ 2yr in1 year, 10 months, 13 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes Goal6 months Goal DateSunday, November 3, 2024 Goal In4 months, 14 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes
Thanks for sharing your story and congrats on how far you've come! Also, with how scarce they are right now, if you can get a PS5, it's an emergency :P
Saeren
User avatar
  • Score data TU8 799/EX8 786/EQ8 805
    EQ5 770/EX2 757
    8/18/2023
3
Post

Re: My Rebuild Story (A Credit Rebel Saga I)

7 of 20
3 years ago
Mon Oct 18, 2021 8:19 pm
User avatar
Cassie
DeveloperLoves long talks on the beach
Cassie has been gardening for over 2 years.
Level52 Last INQFriday, February 14, 2020 Gardening For4 years, 4 months, 5 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes Next Level in24 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes on July 14th INQ 1yr onSunday, February 14, 2021 INQ 1yr reached3 years, 4 months, 5 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago INQ 2yr onMonday, February 14, 2022 INQ 2yr reached2 years, 4 months, 5 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago
Oh yeah, add @Saeren - with the 1337 Credit Profile - to the list of people who can embarrass any credit repair organization.
Cassie
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  • Score data EQ8:792 TU8:789 EX8:788 (Nov 15)
2
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Re: My Rebuild Story (A Credit Rebel Saga I)

8 of 20
3 years ago
Tue Oct 19, 2021 1:33 am
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Birdman
Primer AuthorCo-Founder
Birdman has been gardening for over 2 years.
Level27 Last INQWednesday, March 2, 2022 Gardening For2 years, 3 months, 17 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes Next Level in12 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes on July 2nd INQ 1yr onThursday, March 2, 2023 INQ 1yr reached1 year, 3 months, 17 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago INQ 2yr onSaturday, March 2, 2024 INQ 2yr reached3 months, 17 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago
Cassie wrote: Sun Oct 17, 2021 1:19 am
SoonerSoldier33 wrote: Sat Oct 16, 2021 8:27 pm So, I had almost everything bad you can have. Revolving COs, Installment COs, CA's, my current cards were maxed, and my one current loan was borderline predatory with a pretty high balance. I let my file sit like this almost 2 years making just the minimum payments on my 1 bankcard, 3 store cards, and loan that weren't in default, seeing the balances never trend downward, and feeling like there was no way I was ever getting out of this, and all I knew was that bad stuff falls off your credit eventually, so I would have no chance of credit for the foreseeable future.
I'm glad to have read that. Your story, and what you've learned, are going to help a whole lot of people. I think you and @LaHossBoss make pretty much any 'credit repair organization' redundant at this point. What can they possibly do that the two of you don't already know, right?
Plus with BBSs GST & others, we got it covered!
Birdman
User avatar
  • Score data EQ8-827; TU8-817; EX8-816
    EQ5-751; TI4- 800; EX2-814
3
Post

Re: My Rebuild Story (A Credit Rebel Saga I)

9 of 20
3 years ago
Tue Oct 19, 2021 9:49 pm
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BrutalBodyShots
Senior AdministratorGoodwill Saturation Technique Author
BrutalBodyShots has passed the 24 month threshold and is completely inquiry free!
BrutalBodyShots has achieved the Garden Goal !!
Level24 Last INQMonday, May 23, 2022 Gardening For2 years, 27 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes Next Level in3 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes on June 23rd INQ 1yr onTuesday, May 23, 2023 INQ 1yr reached1 year, 27 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago INQ 2yr onThursday, May 23, 2024 INQ 2yr reached27 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago Goal24 months Goal DateThursday, May 23, 2024 Goal Achieved27 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago
I enjoyed your rebuild story, @SoonerSoldier33 . Thanks for putting it out there! Do you have a timeline for your next set of goals? Like remove X baddie(s) by Y date and/or Fico scores of X by Y date or anything?
BrutalBodyShots
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1
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Re: My Rebuild Story (A Credit Rebel Saga I)

10 of 20
3 years ago
Tue Oct 19, 2021 10:22 pm
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SoonerSoldier33
Seasoned RebelTeam Cash Back
Level6 Last INQMonday, November 27, 2023 Gardening For6 months, 23 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes Next Level in7 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes on June 27th INQ 1yr onWednesday, November 27, 2024 INQ 1yr in5 months, 7 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes INQ 2yr onThursday, November 27, 2025 INQ 2yr in1 year, 5 months, 7 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes Goal24 months Goal DateThursday, November 27, 2025 Goal In1 year, 5 months, 7 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes
Post contains abbreviations. Hover over or long-press words with a question mark for the definition.
BrutalBodyShots wrote: Tue Oct 19, 2021 9:49 pm I enjoyed your rebuild story, @SoonerSoldier33 . Thanks for putting it out there! Do you have a timeline for your next set of goals? Like remove X baddie(s) by Y date and/or Fico scores of X by Y date or anything?
So, I only have one unresolved baddie left. An ugly installment CO from 2019 with an $8K balance now reporting to all 3 CRAs. When my auto loan is complete (hopefully in the next day or 2), I'll have a full picture of my cash position, and I'll reach out to seek a settlement. With 4 new revolvers and a new auto loan, my short term goal is simply to settle the last CO, and garden for the next 12 months. If my FICOs recover to the low 700s at that point, I may look at a card or 2 to fill in the holes in my rewards profile (gas is a big one), and I'm on a dirty scorecard for 5 more years, so no new revolver penalty for the foreseeable future. My AAoA is about to take a pretty massive hit, so garden party for 12-24 months is the plan after resolving my last CO, fill in the holes in my rewards profile, and have a solid file in place in 5 years when I get reassigned to a clean scorecard.
SoonerSoldier33
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  • Score data TU FICO 8: 641 EQ FICO 8: 616 EX FICO 8: 649
3
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Re: My Rebuild Story (A Credit Rebel Saga I)

11 of 20
3 years ago
Wed Oct 20, 2021 12:40 am
User avatar
BrutalBodyShots
Senior AdministratorGoodwill Saturation Technique Author
BrutalBodyShots has passed the 24 month threshold and is completely inquiry free!
BrutalBodyShots has achieved the Garden Goal !!
Level24 Last INQMonday, May 23, 2022 Gardening For2 years, 27 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes Next Level in3 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes on June 23rd INQ 1yr onTuesday, May 23, 2023 INQ 1yr reached1 year, 27 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago INQ 2yr onThursday, May 23, 2024 INQ 2yr reached27 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago Goal24 months Goal DateThursday, May 23, 2024 Goal Achieved27 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago
I like the plan. Resolving that last negative item will be a fantastic accomplishment.
BrutalBodyShots
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0
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Re: My Rebuild Story (A Credit Rebel Saga I)

12 of 20
2 years ago
Sat Jan 01, 2022 10:20 pm
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Cassie
DeveloperLoves long talks on the beach
Cassie has been gardening for over 2 years.
Level52 Last INQFriday, February 14, 2020 Gardening For4 years, 4 months, 5 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes Next Level in24 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes on July 14th INQ 1yr onSunday, February 14, 2021 INQ 1yr reached3 years, 4 months, 5 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago INQ 2yr onMonday, February 14, 2022 INQ 2yr reached2 years, 4 months, 5 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago
Search for 'credit rebel saga' and you get this:
credit_rebel_saga-google_010122.png 65.77 KiB Viewed 303 times
I want all rebuild stories to feature prominently on search engines. Looks like Google grabbed the other post under 'Credit Cards / LOCs/ HELOCs (Revolvers) -> General Discussion'. @SoonerSoldier33 : Can that one be merged into this one? It's no trouble to keep them separate, really - I just wondered.
Cassie
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  • Score data EQ8:792 TU8:789 EX8:788 (Nov 15)
1
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Re: My Rebuild Story (A Credit Rebel Saga I)

13 of 20
2 years ago
Sun Jan 02, 2022 5:08 am
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Birdman
Primer AuthorCo-Founder
Birdman has been gardening for over 2 years.
Level27 Last INQWednesday, March 2, 2022 Gardening For2 years, 3 months, 17 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes Next Level in12 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes on July 2nd INQ 1yr onThursday, March 2, 2023 INQ 1yr reached1 year, 3 months, 17 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago INQ 2yr onSaturday, March 2, 2024 INQ 2yr reached3 months, 17 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago
They were purposely created separate so that we had data points for each approval separate for the database, while creating a separate spree thread for those who like to read about sprees. It was meant to be a model. How do you want to change it what do you mean? if we put everything in one spot how do we separate them for data points? And make them easy to find? And if so do we re-organize everything we’ve done this far by lender?
Birdman
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  • Score data EQ8-827; TU8-817; EX8-816
    EQ5-751; TI4- 800; EX2-814
2
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Re: My Rebuild Story (A Credit Rebel Saga I)

14 of 20
2 years ago
Sun Jan 02, 2022 11:18 am
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Cassie
DeveloperLoves long talks on the beach
Cassie has been gardening for over 2 years.
Level52 Last INQFriday, February 14, 2020 Gardening For4 years, 4 months, 5 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes Next Level in24 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes on July 14th INQ 1yr onSunday, February 14, 2021 INQ 1yr reached3 years, 4 months, 5 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago INQ 2yr onMonday, February 14, 2022 INQ 2yr reached2 years, 4 months, 5 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago
Birdman wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 5:08 am They were purposely created separate so that we had data points for each approval separate for the database, while creating a separate spree thread for those who like to read about sprees. It was meant to be a model. How do you want to change it what do you mean? if we put everything in one spot how do we separate them for data points? And make them easy to find? And if so do we re-organize everything we’ve done this far by lender?
No, on second thought, just leave the spree post where it is. I've got a few ideas I'm working on to make cross-linking/referencing much easier. I'll have a single point of entry, with a form, for approvals/denials that can automatically update several lender forums as well.
Cassie
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  • Score data EQ8:792 TU8:789 EX8:788 (Nov 15)
1
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Re: My Rebuild Story (A Credit Rebel Saga I)

15 of 20
2 years ago
Sun Jan 02, 2022 11:28 am
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SoonerSoldier33
Seasoned RebelTeam Cash Back
Level6 Last INQMonday, November 27, 2023 Gardening For6 months, 23 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes Next Level in7 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes on June 27th INQ 1yr onWednesday, November 27, 2024 INQ 1yr in5 months, 7 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes INQ 2yr onThursday, November 27, 2025 INQ 2yr in1 year, 5 months, 7 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes Goal24 months Goal DateThursday, November 27, 2025 Goal In1 year, 5 months, 7 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes
Hey @Cassie, I think it's awesome to see search results on Google! It is a little unfortunate that it picked up my second post about my spree vs getting the first post about my actual rebuild. I defer to you and @Birdman for where/how you want the posts to appear. I tend to agree that it should be 2 separate posts outlining my actual rebuild first, and then the spree I was able to go on post-rebuild, but I'm fine either way.
SoonerSoldier33
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  • Score data TU FICO 8: 641 EQ FICO 8: 616 EX FICO 8: 649
2
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Re: My Rebuild Story (A Credit Rebel Saga I)

16 of 20
2 years ago
Sun Jan 02, 2022 11:40 am
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Cassie
DeveloperLoves long talks on the beach
Cassie has been gardening for over 2 years.
Level52 Last INQFriday, February 14, 2020 Gardening For4 years, 4 months, 5 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes Next Level in24 days, 14 hours, and 20 minutes on July 14th INQ 1yr onSunday, February 14, 2021 INQ 1yr reached3 years, 4 months, 5 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago INQ 2yr onMonday, February 14, 2022 INQ 2yr reached2 years, 4 months, 5 days, 9 hours, and 40 minutes ago
SoonerSoldier33 wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 11:28 am Hey @Cassie, I think it's awesome to see search results on Google! It is a little unfortunate that it picked up my second post about my spree vs getting the first post about my actual rebuild. I defer to you and @Birdman for where/how you want the posts to appear. I tend to agree that it should be 2 separate posts outlining my actual rebuild first, and then the spree I was able to go on post-rebuild, but I'm fine either way.
You cross-linked both posts, so it's all good! The search engines will follow one or the other anyway, and eventually they'll pair up on the 1st results page. I just added the link to this topic directly to the sitemap file that the bots use to find new content.
Cassie
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  • Score data EQ8:792 TU8:789 EX8:788 (Nov 15)
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