How's your Credit?

I hate that phrase so much! I have shitty credit and you know why random person because I lost my job and I wasn't able to find a new one for 8 months. Not only that but my unemployment was so low it didn't even cover my utilities and food cost (and no I wasn't eating fancy. I was eating Cheerios for dinner most nights). That's why I wasn't able to make payments on my credit cards and still used them to pay for things like RENT and INTERNET and FOOD and POWER!

So I struggled and borrowed money to try and get out of this hole I was in. Not to mention I got into this hole in the first place because I lost my job when I was out of college and was working low-income jobs to stay alive.

Now I am not say that what happened to me is not all my fault because it is for the most part my fault. I made payments on my cards over the minimum and was living my life the best I could but I wasn't making a lot and the first time I lost my job and was looking for a long time (in 2013) before that had happened, I was with someone I thought I could trust and they needed to move for a better paying job so I agreed to help them with the understanding that they would pay me back. I am still waiting for that payment. Should have listened to Judge Milian "Say it, Forget it. Write it, Regret it!"

Please don't be mad at me Judge! I swear I learned my lesson. No one uses my card without me getting something signed to agree to pay for it. I even make payment plans to help people out based on how much they make.

So that being said. I have shitty credit. It was getting better. In 2014 I got a job and was working regularly until August 2019. The only downside was most of my jobs we underpaying me for the work I was doing about at least I was working and was able to start working on my debt. Before getting a job, I had four cards get closed and three go into charge off status, however. That really hurt my credit. I tried everything to fix them and when I had a job, I and my family were getting calls to collect the debt. I did learn they were doing it illegally but I couldn't prove it. I also wanted to make the calls stop, so started paying the debt. Meantime, I start looking for credit repair help online and learned I was throwing away my money by paying because it wasn't going to fix my scores. SUPER PISSED! I paid almost the full amount on the three cards (totaling about $7,000) and they weren't going to remove the items from my credit score or anything. So I stopped paying the collection agencies and sent them letters to not call me for the money only mail me letters. I also sent a letter stating I would finish paying off the debt if they removed the item off my credit score which they couldn't or won't do so they don't get money. Yay me!

The next time I lost my job, I had a little more knowledge, and to try to stop them from charging off my accounts, I reached out to ask them for a hardship program due to losing my job. They instead closed my accounts within a month and charged them off within a few months after that. :/ Thanks, guys!

So now that you know how I got into this mess, I want to share some of the things I am doing to get back out of it.

Please note, that I will be sharing some links. This is so you know where I am going. I am not getting paid for these and if you sign up, great. As I said, I am not getting paid for these!

Here is my list of ways I am working to get out of debt and fix my credit myself! I will give you all the pros and cons that I have found so far and share any additional information I think will be helpful for you to know.

  1. Kikoff - The name felt appropriate to start things off with. Kikoff works like a credit line. When you apply, you are instantly approved for a $500 line of credit. They don't do credit checks, so you don't get a negative impact on your scores. You then shop their store for whatever. Their items start as low as $10. So you can pick something within your budget. Once you have something from their store you want to pay, you then set up a payback plan per month. You pick how long of payment history you want to build and you can pay back the balance in full at any time. They will report all your payments to the major credit bureaus and start helping you build up your credit scores. For me, I like the idea of this. They report to two of the major credit bureaus. They give you flexibility to set the terms of your payment plan and they don't charge interest on their credit. They want you to have a long payment and credit history with them. If you would like to learn more, Nerdwallet did a review on them as well which is interesting. I didn't find it until after I already had an account with them. :)

  2. SeedFi - Another new account I have is with SeedFi. SeedFi is working to help people living paycheck to paycheck grow their money. I am one of those people so they come at helping people in a different way. While 3 actually. The first is creating an affordable way to build your credit score. The second is helping you build a savings account. The final way is they have lower-cost plans compared to their competitors to make it more accessible to people. Sounds amazing right? While it is sort of is. I mean the savings are locked until you pay for it, meaning you have to put in all the money you have in your savings account with them first before you can start using the account, which sort of sucks on the one hand but is good on the other. Also, they are truly affordable and it is payments on a monthly basis. This is one to look at if you are looking to get a savings plan or help to build your credit.

  3. Aspiration - This is a real bank. Aspiration is as I said a bank, but it is not like a regular bank. They are out to make the world a little better. They will take a small number of your charges to make it a whole dollar and they plant trees with it. I use this account for my car payments so I feel like it is doing some good with my gas car. Anyway, they plant trees with the money and when you plant x amount of trees you get a reward for it. Sounds pretty good right? They have two types of accounts both come with checking and a savings account. The first is Aspiration. This one comes with deposits that won't fund fossil fuel exploration or production, 55,000 free in-network ATMs, 3-5% cashback on Conscience Coalition purchases, personalize impact score to see how to help you shop to match your values, option to plant a tree with every roundup and get paid 2 days early. The second is Aspiration Plus. This comes with a fee to sign up for it ($5.99/mo billed annually). It also has everything Aspiration has as well as 10% cashback on Conscience Coalition purchases, up to 1.00% APY on the savings account, one out-of-network ATM reimbursement monthly, and carbon offsets for all your gas purchases with Planet Protection. They have also started, investments, IRA, and Giving accounts to make them a little more competitive with the larger banks.

  4. Credit Versio - this is to help monitor and dispute errors on your credit score. They will help you draft letters to send to the credit bureaus to help remove items from your score that are not correct. Along with Smart Credit, they helping you see the whole picture as to what is going on with your credit scores and what you can do to help improve them. Smart Credit is $24.99 a month and review all 3 major credit bureaus.

  5. Credit Solution Program - help you help your credit scores. This is a great program with tons of information and tips to improving your credit. I totally recommend them and make sure when you sign up you also get into their Facebook group to see all the extra information how to fight the credit card and banks.

Well that's it for right now. Let me know if you want more on credit report. I will give you updated on my thoughts and if I find anything more to help you.