800 Credit Score: Secrets of How To Get There (And Above!)

Posted by CreditCardGuru

800So is 800 a good credit score? Well according to Fair Isaac (developer of FICO) only 13 percent of Americans have a credit score above 800. When you consider the national average is 692 and the median is 723,  the 800-and-over crowd is an exclusive club indeed. But how do you get there?

If you want to know how to get a 800 credit score, you should go straight to the source.

  • MyFICO.com – This is FICO’s site for consumers. Yeah, a lot of it is trying to sell you on their credit score monitoring services – but aside from that, there’s a great deal of free information in the education and community sections of their site.
  • Members of the 800 club – Know someone with a FICO score in this range? Grill them on the types of accounts they have, their credit utilization, payment history and more. Want someone to start with? Well in a recent post, I wrote about my credit score of 790, which you may find useful (used to be 800 before some recent credit inquiries were made).

Is that too much work? OK, here’s a cheat sheet for you…

If you don’t want to spend all your waking hours scouring the MyFICO site, poring over forum posts and interrogating those who already have a high score, I’ve created the following cheat sheet just for you.

This information is derived from the clues that MyFICO gives about so called “high achievers” (those with a score between  760 and 850) as well as my own experience and knowledge.

1. Age of your accounts

Unfortunately this is one of the few things that you can’t control. Just like you can’t accelerate the aging of a fine wine, you can’t speed up the clock on the age of your credit account.

The oldest revolving account (translation: credit card) for the high achievers is pegged at 19 years on average. Furthermore, the average age across all their accounts is between six and 12 years. The age of your accounts is important because lenders like to see you’ve been handling credit responsibly over a long period of time.

What does this mean? Age discrimination that’s 100 percent legal! Even though I first hit 800 in my mid-20s, that is extremely rare and most people may not hit that number until their 30s or 40s.

Another important thing to remember is to not cancel your oldest card. For many of us it’s the one we got in college. It probably has a high interest rate, no rewards and a low credit limit – a prime candidate for the shredder. But don’t do it. Throw it in a sock drawer and maybe use it once a year to keep maintain it’s active status with the bank. It will pay dividends in terms of age of credit for your credit score.

2. Bad debt

Collection or public record on your file? On MyFICO it says that “virtually no” high achievers will have that. So even if you do everything else right, don’t think you can get away with having that one ER bill charged off or that old credit card from five years ago in collections.

Don’t get me wrong: You can have charged off debt and a few years later, it might be possible to have a FICO in the mid-700s. But if you are shooting for a credit score of over 800, you need to seriously do whatever it takes to prevent charge-offs. If they’re already on there, you’ll need to let time do its work. Charge-offs will fall off your credit reports after seven years.

3. Number of accounts

According to a post by a MyFICO moderator, six accounts currently being paid as agreed is the average for high achievers. Moreover, high achievers have an average of four to five credit cards on file (which includes accounts both currently open and those that have been closed but are still on the report). Just a little FYI though — I have many, MANY times more cards than that!

So for all the haters out there that love to harp about how evil credit cards are, just remember, when used responsibly, they can be quite helpful for your credit score. If you honestly think you’re going to get to 800 and above by only having a student loan and car loan on record, then I have some swampland in Florida I would like to sell you.

4. Mix of credit

It used to be that you could obtain a killer score with just cards or just loans, but when the formula was tweaked a few years back that all changed.

If you want to know how to get an 800+ credit score nowadays, then you need to acknowledge and accept the fact that a good mix of different credit accounts is imperative:

  • Revolving accounts – This is primarily credit cards
  • Installment accounts – Loans where you pay a fixed amount each month. Think mortgage, car loan, etc.

Those are the two main categories and then within each, there are also variations which can affect your creditworthiness. For example, TransUnion considers a bankcard with a credit line of $10,000+ as being a “premium bankcard account.”

Since FICO’s formula is secret, no one knows exactly how they gauge the importance of a given credit limit of something like a “premium bankcard account.” But one thing is for sure and that is I’ve never seen someone with an 800 score that only has toy limits of one or two thousand. So don’t play around, play with the big boys and get some five-figure fun for your credit limits.

5. Payment History

Depending on the source you reference, having even just one 30-day late payment reportedly may knock down your score by up to 60-120 points (the higher your score is, the greater the fall). And the higher you are to begin with, the longer it will take to recover (it might be years).

Now just to clarify – as I constantly hear confusion about this – any payment that is up to 30 days late can be treated as a 30 day late payment. You see, the “30 day late” actually covers everything from 1 to 30 days late.

That being said, even though creditors have the right to report all non-paid accounts as late the day after the due date, that is extremely rare. Most won’t report it as late unless it’s not received by the next due date, however don’t bet the ranch on that because every lender operates differently (so be safe and pay on time).

6. Credit Inquires

Every time you apply for some form of credit, whether it be a credit card, mortgage or loan, a “hard” credit inquiry is made. This hard inquiry is recorded on your credit report. It stays on there for 24 months but will only be able to affect your score for the first 12 months (with the greatest impact during the first 6).

The MyFICO moderator posted that for the high achievers category, 72% didn’t apply for credit in the past year. That being said, you can most definitely have an 800+ score even with inquiries affecting it. You just don’t want to have too many. From my experience anything beyond 3 per year is a no-no if you want to keep your score above 800 (mine dropped to 790 from having that).

7. Utilization

Last but not least, we come to credit utilization – the percentage of a credit limit (or loan) which is being used. It has been a hotly debated topic at CreditCardForum on multiple occasions.

If you go by the high achievers, then the average is 7% on the revolving accounts (a.k.a. credit card accounts). And indeed, this is right in the neighborhood of mine which came in at 6% last time.

One of the lesser talked about forms of utilization is that which applies to installment loans. The MyFICO moderator highlights that of a loan’s original amount, for the high achievers an average of 35% has been paid down.

When you think about it, the installment loan utilization rate probably correlates closely with the average homeowner who bailed on their underwater mortgage during this real estate crisis. Why? Because those underwater were much more likely to be (a) recent buyers before the bubble burst, and/or (b) people who bought with little to nothing down. It makes sense that someone who has already paid off 35% of their mortgage is far more likely to stay in their house and keep paying.

One last important note – credit scores are not created equal!

Sooner or later, someone will post a comment below saying something like “I have a 880 credit score” or “I’m only 20 and my credit score is already above 800.” Don’t believe it.

Well FYI, most credit scores which are peddled to consumers these days are imitators to FICO (i.e. FAKO scores) and are drastically different. FICO runs 300 to 850. There are a ton of others out there, like VantageScore, that run 501 to 990. Then there are those which aim to “simulate” FICO and might do a poor job at that – I’ve heard them being off as much as 70 or 80 points.

Best cards for beefing up your report?

Below are some good ones that have a reputation for giving respectable credit limits. It’s a good idea to have accounts with different banks. For example, if you already use Chase and AmEx, get a Discover and Capital One.

I got to almost an 800 in my early 20′s using just cards alone (I had about 10). Having several with respectable credit limits seems to go a long way in FICO’s eyes.

This post was written or last updated June 5, 2014


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Editorial Disclosure: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author's alone, not those of the bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

145 comments... read them below or add your own

  1. Barbara Franics August 30, 2014 at 3:17AM

    I had perfect credit. I was down to 1 payment each on 2 Chase loans. Very small amounts. I broke my foot and was not at home for 10 weeks and not near a computer. Chase said they sent a letter in July saying that my auto payments had ended. This was 1 payment shy of each loan payoff. I never saw the letter and did not find out about it until I returned home after the payments were 30 days late. There was no reason I would have known they stopped my auto payments. I immediately paid the small balances $88.00 last payment on a $7800 and $172.00 last payment on a $9800.00 with never a late. My august credit report showed 2 xx 30 days lates and I was sick over it. My score dropped from 760 to 652. I have less than 20 percent of my available credit in use and have never been late with anything. I have been with American Express for 24 years and have a $9400 credit limit which I pay as soon as I use it daily. Chase refuses to help me even though I have a perfect record with them. They were actually rude to me. They say it was not a bank error. How long will it take my great credit to recover. I can’t believe this happened.

  2. Sim August 19, 2014 at 6:14AM

    Right now I have 13 credit cards. I really want to close a few of them. The few I want to close are not major credit cards. They are for stores, like Target, Sears, and others. I never use they cards and really have no reason too. Most of my cards have no balances on them. Is it really going to hurt my score to do this. I also don’t want to be in the position that I do apply for something and they tell me I have too many open accounts.

    • Mathias August 24, 2014 at 5:45AM

      Make sure the ones you cancel take into account your average account age as well. If you had 2 bad credit cards you opened your account with and a really great new credit card and closed one of the older ones your average account length would be reduced by half for example someone please correct me if I’m wrong.

  3. Suggestions August 5, 2014 at 12:32AM

    My CS currently is 704 from Credit Karma but 749 according to TransUnion , i have an account with Captial One for 9 months and have a $750 credit limit, I’ve only had open credit for 9 months with 3 inquiries on
    my plate soon probably another one will be added, i just recently applied for Chase Sapphire card, hoping to get approved. I also opened a personal loan for $750 to help build my credit. My credit utilization is 25% but i am starting to pay it off quickly, I am still in college as i graduate soon, any suggestions?

    • Clay August 18, 2014 at 12:09AM

      I hope not, but you will almost assuredly get rejected for the Sapphire. It is a Visa Signature card and much harder to get. Plus it has an annual fee. Go for excellent no annual fee cards that earn rewards like the Chase Freedom and DiscoverIT and pay them off every month. The reason you want these as your first cards is that they’re easier to get and have no annual fee, which means you’ll likely keep them forever, and you want those early ‘forever’ cards establishing the age of your credit file. The two cards I mentioned are STILL two of the most-used cards out of my 12 current ones. Another recent benefit of the DiscoverIT is that it gives you your true FICO score every month, which you’ll want to monitor while you build your credit.

    • Mathias August 24, 2014 at 5:50AM

      Getting a loan just to help build credit is like paying to not have to pay later. (in my opinion) it was probably a bad idea to apply to sapphire with such a low credit limit and credit history but they could accept you I’ve been accepted for things I probably shouldn’t have. Since you already took the loan I recommend you pay it off ASAP. Try not to carry a balance from month to month and don’t apply for new cards for a bit since you’ve had a few inquiries recently. Let the offers come to you and wait to see which one is worth the hit.

  4. erik g August 3, 2014 at 10:11PM

    Yea. My CS was 788 when pulled today at the dealership. Before the salesman knew what it was he was giving me this spill about how I shouldn’t put money down and wouldn’t I like to build credit to buy a house someday. Lol. I make good money and have a small business and have only student loans and house mortgage. He wants folks to be comfortable enough with having debt that they think they are being smart by keeping high levels for longer periods thus building credit. Live within your means folks. Buy what you can afford and borrow the rest…. UT don’t let these financial institutions make you think having what you can’t afford is smart!!

  5. Tommyguns July 10, 2014 at 12:25PM

    My FICO score show 849 today. It has generally been hovering around 820-830s last year or so but went up recently. My only changes have been that some of my unused cards I decided to use for the discounts the last few months. My income hasn’t changed. Actually, I have been unemployed for most of the year so it is possible to hit the high scores without being employed. :)

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  7. Brenda July 2, 2014 at 10:30AM

    I use a revolving line of credit for approximately 10 years. Is there any way that having this will negatively affect my credit score?

    Thank you

  8. Topgun June 14, 2014 at 12:19AM

    Credit score doesn’t matter when you can pay cash for everything. I’d love to have an 800+ score but why?
    It’s a #. I was recently asked how much I make every week and the person dropped their phone in shock.
    It’s normal for me but I guess not for them. It’s better to own a business than to have credit. Credit can get you into a lot of trouble if mis-managed. YOU HAVE NO CONTROL over your credit line, credit score, utilization, debt to income ratio or anything related to credit. Do you think Bill Gates worries about an 800+ credit score.
    WAKE UP America, credit card companies are allowed to charge 30.9% interest on a charged off credit cards.
    Kudos to all who have credit cards and pay them off monthly.
    Having Cash in the bank has more to do with Debt to Income ratio which affects FICO.
    I don’t have the slighest clue what my FICO is b/c I haven’t needed credit since 2009.
    Much luck to all the rest of you!

    • Dcc June 19, 2014 at 1:33AM

      Having cash in the banks has nothing to do with your DTI. DEBT To Income! You can have a million plus in the bank and have a high DTI. The fact you day credit is not important and you can’t control it speaks volume of your lunacy!

      Your comments or advice what ever you want to call it is so far from the truth and just ignorant all together. I have known a lot of rich people and a few wealthy people, there is a huge difference in rich & wealthy. Not one has ever bragged like you have about how much they make, they don’t need to. My guess is your topping out at 80K and your thinking that’s something.

      Credit allows you to use other peoples money, that sounds pretty smart to me.

    • David July 15, 2014 at 12:27AM

      I am fabulously wealthy, so my understanding of the terms you use is minimal. What is FICO?

    • Jes August 9, 2014 at 7:46AM

      I agree, Topgun. To focus only on a number misses the point. Be financially responsible and the number will happen, or it won’t matter because you have business clout.

  9. WiccanDruid June 13, 2014 at 8:12PM

    Credit score?… Credit? Its ALL BS! ALL OF IT! … Its just a way to monetize you and KEEP you in debt, as in forever.

    Live without credit, and you’ll do fine! Remember the 50′s.. how did people buy homes?.. They didn’t have computers then.. They simply look at your job + income history and BAM! you got a nice home ! If you didn’t pay, they’ll simply take your house and resell it. Back then, it wasn’t known as ‘foreclosure’ – This is so stupid.

    Why… just WHY?… do you need a credit history to buy a house? Since the house and property is already collateral in a loan. Its so stupid! .. gawd… Its just a way to separate people – “trust worthy, and not trust worthy” – LOL…

    Sooner or later, the entire system will CRASH!… It will happen, why? because so much data has been pounded in and its beginning to mix with other people – sad.

    I have lived without credit for the past 10 years… I get on just fine. Stupid people..

    • Dcc June 19, 2014 at 1:41AM

      Credit is a measure of how people pay their bills. When you apply for a home a good measure of your ability to pay is your credit. People that go 10 years with out credit most likely got in a pickle 10 years ago from over spending and under paying. Then blamed the system on their poor choices.

      Is this sounding familiar??

    • Honeycomb8 June 28, 2014 at 10:44PM

      Wiccan: One reason for a high credit score is that if you need to get a loan, the rate is lower if your score is higher.

      It’s easier to pay for things with plastic. Takes less time than writing a check. In fact, some places won’t take cash or checks, any more. (although very few)

      After reading these posts, now I’m worried that I have only one credit card and a score of 785. It used to be over 800. What changed? I dunno. It changed last year for an unknown reason. Nothing negative on my report.

      But now I have retired early and am worried my credit card will lower my limit, wich will affect my score. I don’t plan on financing anything anytime soon, but you never know.

    • Clay August 18, 2014 at 12:17AM

      Really? Stupid? I get free airline travel, free hotel stays, thousands in cash back every year..and I don’t pay anything for it (OK i paid $13.40 last year because of a miscalculation…that’s over 12 credit cards). And when I want to leverage other peoples’ money for large purchases, like a house or a car, I’ll pay very very little to do it. What will you pay when you say “duh…oh, I have no credit Mr. banker? Somehow I doubt you have 500K cash sitting around for that house purchase.

  10. Ashley May 31, 2014 at 8:22AM

    There’s a secret? The secret is pay your damn bills. It’s not rocket science.

    Don’t loan out more than you need or can pay back, take out credit lines on things that are 0% interest and short term even if you don’t necessarily need their store card (best buy, furniture stores, etc). I have probably 15 lines of revolving credit for random things that I *wanted* along the way. I just bought a house, refinanced 2 cars, and opened 2 credit cards in the last year and my score is 810. Normally all that would hurt me, but I’ve never made a late payment. Ever. The one time I thought I did, they had sent my bill to the wrong address and it was an easy fix.

    There is no “secret”. The secret is don’t be stupid. I use my credit cards like debit cards. Pay them off several times a month just to get the rewards points. I’ve probably earned around $700 over the course of 6-7 years by using my credit card like a debit card. Once you start doing that, the good habits are like brushing your teeth. Debt means someone else has you at their mercy. Don’t be in debt unless you can handle it. And remember you can use credit companies for your own gain just as well as they can (rebates, percentages off, loyal shopper programs, rewards points). Right now I have one that deposits 1-2% of everything I spend into my retirement account. That’s pretty sweet honestly.

  11. Mal May 17, 2014 at 11:33AM

    I have a 720 just paid chase, cap one and paid down Sears that leaves me 7 cards left with lil balances how will that effect my score. Still have cap one and Citibank homedepot just want to clean house and keep 2 major cards .

  12. Harvey April 18, 2014 at 12:50PM

    I do have a 772 score credit but I want to get up to 800 points , how to get that kind of credit score . Thanks

  13. jake April 2, 2014 at 2:16PM

    I’m 29 and have only had a student loan, a car payment (two different cars over the years), and one credit card (10k limit) since college.

    I’ve always known my credit was “OK” and never worried about trying to actively improve it. I use my credit card for all my purchases unless there is literally no option for payment via CC and pay the balance off about once a week.

    About a year ago I purchased a new car and was able to get 1.70% interest on my loan so I assumed my credit was still OK. Recently I had to go into my bank to switch my checking account to a different type because my bank was discontinuing their free checking accounts.

    While I was in there they told me I qualified for another credit card with a 16k limit. I told them I didn’t really need another card, but they said it would help my credit so I went ahead and had them sign me up.

    When the card arrived in the mail it came with my FICO score which was 810. I’m not sure if the new card will help or hurt that score, but it seems pretty high and, like I mentioned, all I’ve ever had is a car loan, student loan, and credit card.

    I’m obviously not an expert, but I see people using these intricate strategies to achieve good credit but for me all I did was pay my bills on time and have some pretty normal loans (car/student).

    • Ashley May 31, 2014 at 8:26AM

      You are ok. I remember when my score got to 700 I was 22, had about 10 credit cards, a car payment and student loans had already started to accumulate. I honestly never tried to get into the 800′s but I found out when we bought our newest car. I can’t remember thinking how did that happen? Guess I have like a ton of credit cards that I use and never pay late.

    • Honeycomb8 June 28, 2014 at 10:49PM

      Jake: Yes, you paid your bills. But more importantly, you took out multiple loans & a credit card. That means $ to companies. They want your business since you borrow a lot and you pay the bills.

      16k is high for someone so young, it seems. But I’ve noticed over the years that white males just get things. Once my boyfriend, who was employed but didn’t make that much $, walked into his bank and took out a personal loan. Collateral? Just his signature. He’d banked there for a long time, and his dad was wealthy, so that influended it, I’m sure. But I’ve never heard of that with a minority or woman.

      I disagree with all these people who have all these cards. That seems unnecessary and perhaps dangerous. No one needs that much credit.

  14. jds March 23, 2014 at 5:24PM

    Okay, my head is about to explode! Paying off your credit cards each month does not help you out hurts you. you need to keep a small balance each month or if you’re not comfortable with that at least every three months. Multiple lines of credit are necessary. A mortgage helps the most but most of us aren’t ready to settle down a car is the next best. Have at least a few revolving lines of credit I.e. credit cards. Never Ever miss a payment.keep your cats below 20% of your available credit limit. Don’t apply for new cards if you have set least5 open lines of credit. (Diverse like we talked about). Old collection accounts fall off after7 years and they can’t sue you after 4 but be aware, when setting down to sign your mortgage the loan company probably will make you pay the collection to close the deal anyway so you may as well pay it.

    • Youraveragegal March 26, 2014 at 11:06PM

      It does not hurt your credit score to pay off your credit cards every month. I have a credit score of 816 and I have always paid my credit card off in full every month. I have never carried a balance on any credit cards. I have two credit cards, a student loan (since 2004), and a mortgage since 2012. I always pay the loan and the mortgage off every month; automatic payments from checking account. I don’t pay my bills late – they are consistently on time. I have never had a car loan. In about 2001, when I was first pre-approved for a mortgage, I was told that I had the highest credit score that she had seen for someone my age. I was 37 at the time. At that time, I didn’t have a loan of any kind and had not ever had a loan. Just a couple credit cards and a couple department store credit cards and consistently paying all bills/rent on time.

    • slt April 3, 2014 at 5:29PM

      I’ve had excellent credit for years…had credit cards in the 25k range…used them for 1-2k purchases, then the credit card companies cut my available credit down to just over what I had used on them and even closed some I hadn’t used in six months…my score dropped from 790 to 560 because what the credit card companies did…why didn’t FICO take this into account?

      • Rick April 12, 2014 at 1:52AM

        You have obviously left something out of your story. All your credit card companies don’t just lower credit limits out of the blue. It was done because something happened that showed them that you were a significant risk. Did you have a charge off, lose your job and stop paying for a while, foreclose on your home or have a car repossessed? FICO would look at those things and lower your score appropriately.

      • Harvey April 18, 2014 at 12:41PM

        Maybe you have a late payment that’s why they went down your credit

      • Harvey April 18, 2014 at 12:41PM

        Maybe you have a late payment that’s why they went down your credit

      • Hummingbird May 24, 2014 at 1:17PM

        It’s true, if you don’t use your credit cards most companies will cut your credit line or close them. If you have debt on other cards, that brings up your debt ratio and THAT drops your score. It happened to me too. No late payments, nothing. Everything done right except that I didn’t use them all the time.

      • WiccanDruid June 13, 2014 at 8:27PM

        that’s sad. Banks are controlling your life in this manner. You like slavery? Yah… credit is slavery in a sense. Oh well.. get out of it if it keeps degrading your credit – because once you get into the bad zone, they want to make sure you STAY in that BAD ZONE for at least 20 years.. YUP! you read that right…

      • Honeycomb8 June 28, 2014 at 10:52PM

        A change in income will change your credit limit which will change your score.

        I’m stupid enough that I reported to them, when they asked about my income, that I just retired early, so don’t have a handle on my “income” yet, but have all these accounts for retirement and no debt (house paid off). She couldn’t guarantee they wouldn’t lower my credit line.

    • Ashley May 31, 2014 at 8:27AM

      Ok… So I have an 810 and have NEVER kept a balance on any credit card month to month. Please tell me what’s wrong with your head.

    • Ashley May 31, 2014 at 8:33AM

      Lol… So don have more than 5 credit cards? I’m 27 and have around 15 credit cards, 6 student loans, a mortgage with 3.25% interest, a truck payment, and boat payment. And my score is pretty good honestly. I started my first job at 18 so that means I open more than 1 account most years. Didn’t hurt me

      • Ashley May 31, 2014 at 8:39AM

        I’ve never had a credit card cut my line of credit down. I closed my first card a capital one card a year after I opened it because they only report you credit limit as your high credit so it looks like you maxed it out at one time regardless if it was only $50. I closed my BoAmerica card because their phone customer service was slow. The only cards that have ever closed due to inactivity were three different store cards. I’ve never had a major card company close or decrease my account. Had my BoAmerica card for like 6 years and never used it, they didn’t close me I closed them.

  15. daniel March 15, 2014 at 3:50AM

    WELL I recently applied for a CITI Bank credit card and was approved with a credit limit of $20,100. I received my credit card along with my credit score. My credit score is 787. I don’t have a mortgage, however I have 1 Auto loan, and 2 Auto lease accounts that are currently open on my credit report. Also Most of the credit cards I have are limits about $25,000, my Chase card being the highest at $32,000 limit. I think that’s what also makes the score high. My credit history is 7 years old. I’m in my mid 20′s.

    • Ashley May 31, 2014 at 8:42AM

      Yeah that’s what does it is you have so much credit out there. You must have a really high income. Me and my husband have decently above average incomes for our age but we only get approved for at most $10,000 per card. I still remember my first card with $1000 limit I thought I was something else.

  16. Jojo March 2, 2014 at 7:45PM

    Couldn’t believe how important a good credit score is..I went to refinance my mortgage to a 10 year fixed and the loan officer said my credit was a 809 and he then shook my hand. He said he gets a couple applicants a month with 800′s and always shakes their hand. He showed me that a 670 would have cost me about a half pertcent more in interest and $120 more a month. I guess paying your bills makes people happy! LOL

    • Honeycomb8 June 28, 2014 at 10:57PM

      Well, it’s more than paying your bills. It’s amount of debt to debt availability ratio, income, and other things, in addition to timely paying bills. Also, having long term cards.

      I do know the amount of available credit you have factors into it a lot. FICO likes to see a lot of available credit.

  17. Juan Salcido Martinez February 28, 2014 at 8:16PM

    Well guys I really thank everybody that make this forum please any advises I really want to take care of my credit know that is in good condition… It turns out that after 10 years of not operating my credit caz I was out of the states working. I came back to the states with new family wife and son and of course begin life again here in the states so I got directv they ask for your social to check your credit well my credit score know is 885. I need some good advice so I can educate myself and not to mess up again any good advices will help a lot thanks…

    • Ashley May 31, 2014 at 8:44AM

      My advice is pay your bills on time. You really don’t have to do anything else.

  18. Reggie February 4, 2014 at 12:37AM

    Read this study this. 2 years ago 480 was my starting point as of tonight 680. Its been a long proccess but my keys were first started out by getting 3 credit cards 200 300 and 400. I maxxed the hell out of them seeingwhat my score would do paying them off then max again. One card is secured so yea i had to pay but just using it for gas and paying in full brought tons of offers thats when i got the other 2. I really didnt see a big difference till i brought my nice shiney 10k tool box on snap on credit, it sky rocketed. Seemed like my score was more focased on that 10k rather than maxed out cards. Now if i pay the 850 off i should see 700 easy. Other keys collections are still there im not touching them unless i have too once you pay them off a late payment shows up and there goes 2 year perfect credit dont ask me why that happens its stupid as hell but it happens trust me. Stop applying for credit, keep those 3 cards paid on time and wait for the increase. It takes a long time, my credit wasnt half as jacked up as most im now seeing the light after 2 years.

  19. Tamar February 1, 2014 at 1:44PM

    Trying to buy a home and my credit score is a 600. I believe I messed up myself. I wasnt very educated on how it worked and I paid all of my collections and later found out it made my score worse. I’m not in any debt but I need to try and boost my score in 3 months. Any suggestions

    • josh February 4, 2014 at 12:20AM

      MY score was horrible last year. It was a 320 so poor. I had a brick account i never paid lol the interest on that went from 2500 to 12000 in like 7 years. I had screwed up at a bank machine and didn’t put the cheque in the envelope and then withdrew it right away, and the bank closed my account. That showed up too, and I also had a credit card for like 1000 and never paid it ever lol The creditors called and called and i was finally going to pay them tell my friend said hey men there bugging you more and more because these accounts are going to come off your credit report \. If I had paid them they would of stayed on and i would of been screwed. Now get this I just checked my credit report and it is a 799 ha ha ha ha ha. Every thing is deleted it went over the seven years with no payments so it all disappeared. The only thing that shows up is one from a line of credit that I took out and party with it was 7000 but i settled for 3000 one night five years ago when i was drunk working in camp because they said it would look good. They put down paid as agreed upon. Now I’m dancing hahahahaha screw you collection agency. The threats the lawsuits yeah right. It’s all gone hahaha thank god i didn’t pay them. Never even bother paying them if its been a couple years just wait it out youll be back to normal in no time . never agree on the phone either. It is also illegal for them to call you over and over again once you talk to them you tell them you want it sent in the mail. They’re not allowed to call your family or friends people. Time for my new credit card and a party ha ha ha

      • CountryGirl February 25, 2014 at 11:25AM

        How discraceful Josh! We the rest of the consumer will be paying for your neglect and purposefully not wanting to pay your credit card bills. Sure a collection agency writes the balance off but someone down the line pays for it —> US!

      • jc March 5, 2014 at 3:01PM

        Your an Idiot Josh and yes someone will pay for it because of irresponsible people as yourself. It is theft in a way and when karma catches you, it won’t be so nice!

      • Jeff March 24, 2014 at 1:22AM

        Sound like a dirt ball that doesnt honor his credit obligations! Real reason to dance and be proud wow lol.

      • Ashley May 31, 2014 at 8:47AM

        What a tool.

        Yeah my brother did that for 7 years waiting for his stuff to fall off and he’s still living with my mom. 40 years old.

        Josh has a great life. I don’t think it sounds appealing to me because I know from association how miserable the waiting game is. And to be an alcoholic too… Is a lonely life.

      • Lewis Isenberg July 20, 2014 at 2:48PM

        Josh I hope you overdose at your next credit party…Here are all of us trying to do the right thing and raise our scores the right way and we have to read your Bullshit post shame on you…

    • Don March 10, 2014 at 12:18PM

      Get a secured credit card. This is the fastest way I know to bolster your card but 3 months may be too short to get into the 700s. It took six months before my credit report including my history which was a huge boost.

    • Chris March 29, 2014 at 4:51PM

      If you’re able to put off buying the house to improve your score, it might be worth it in that 1/2% point. If you cannot, go ahead and secure a fixed interest, reasonably sized loan, and make payments on time and then consider refinancing after your score has improved. A good history on the home loan should go a long way toward improving the score.

    • Dcc June 19, 2014 at 1:53AM

      The accounts were in a negative status so paying them off basically woke the giant. Horrible you do the right thing and your punished. If you currently have 3 trade lines or 3 individual accounts in good standing then ask a friend or family member that has excellent credit to be an. “Authorized” user on their account.

      It’s like me calling my Amex and adding you to the card. No risk because the new card comes to me and you would never get it nor have control of the account. You immediately piggy back on all of my excellent credit over the years on that account. This could boost your scores 20-40 points in a month or two.

  20. Young Schornick January 18, 2014 at 5:53AM

    Hi, the first letter was sent to my billing address, not my shipping address. I don’t know if it is just me or other people had this challenge but I just desired to let you guys know. It was definitely disappointing not getting the letter where I am proper now

  21. diana hardin January 16, 2014 at 10:20AM

    I have already have my latest credit scores can we go to? next page.my score is 548

  22. penny January 10, 2014 at 3:30PM

    So my credit score is really BAD!! I finally got a hold of my credit report and I wrote down all my student loan debts (its only student loans on my debt) however, some of the debts that I owe don’t have a contact number so I can set up payments while on deployment. What should I do or what should be the next steps so that I may finally get a hold of them and set up the payments before I deploy?

    • jt February 7, 2014 at 12:01PM

      If you are in the military and deployed overseas see your legal council–the creditors can not legally report a negative on your credit while you are deployed overseas.. The military act protects you — sugest you send them (creditors) a letter stating you are military and ask them to remove all the negative for the period you were deployed overseas.

  23. inderjeet barmi January 9, 2014 at 11:07AM

    i live canada discharge from bankrupty no credit card i like to buy used car on pension.need help

  24. Johannes December 28, 2013 at 1:59PM

    can anyone explain to me how I can have all the accounts on my credit report showing paid as agreed and have credit score below 600? I am confused as to how this has happened. I have on visa card with a $500 limit paid off each month and a line of credit with the credit union. Seems I should have a good credit score not one that won’t let me get a home loan.

    • Phil C January 3, 2014 at 2:35AM

      Hi Johannes,

      It might be that you don’t have enough credit, types of credit, ratios, inaccurate information. From this description it’s really hard to say. Also, was it a myfico score or was it an alternative rating sceme? Pull your credit report(s) and verify the information, and if you want I’ll give you my email and I can review it for you. Also there are plenty of credit repair/optimization agencies that will do a free consult (just be prepared for the sales pitch).

      Good luck, Phil

    • Ashley May 31, 2014 at 8:50AM

      You should ask for limit increases. $500 is not much at all. My first credit card at 18 with $15,000 per year income was $750. You really need to increase your credit to debt ratio. Open another card and wait.

  25. credit December 22, 2013 at 11:28AM

    Go to Google and type: A summary of your rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act pdf

    You all know about the rumor that if you have one late payment you must suffer for 7 years. NOT TRUE. This is absolute proof that 7 years is only a time limit.

    “Consumer reporting agencies may not report outdated negative information. In most cases, a consumer reporting agency may not report negative information that is MORE THAN seven years old, or bankruptcies that are more than 10 years old”

    What good is the Fair Credit Reporting Act if we must suffer for 7 years if we miss a payment?

  26. credit December 22, 2013 at 11:17AM

    Here are all the rest of the bureaus. Please educate yourself. Life happens, and one day you will join the Fair Credit club like the rest of us——–A strike can put you out of work, etc.

    The Credit Bureaus were not created by the Government. Rather, the Government enacted the Fair Credit Reporting Act to tell these credit bureaus what to do———and one of those things is placing time limits on how long they can hold on to our information.

    And 2nd of all, we must use logic. How can the Government require Banks to report information like loans, or delinquent accounts to Private companies? It does not make sense.

  27. credit December 22, 2013 at 11:05AM

    Here is a history of Experian for instance:

    Equifax
    Equifax LogoEquifax is the oldest of the three bureaus, having been founded in 1899 as Retail Credit Company. It began as two brothers, Cator and Guy Woolford, keeping a list of customers and their creditworthiness for their local Retail Grocer’s Association. He would sell the book to other merchants in the association and credit reporting was born. They eventually settled on Atlanta, Georgia as their home and founded the Retail Credit Company.

    By the 1960′s, when TransUnion was formed, Retail Credit Company was one of the largest credit bureaus with data on millions of Americans and Canadians. After years of criticism of the credit reporting industry in the 1960′s and 1970′s, Congress passed the Fair US Credit Reporting Act to regulate the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer information. It is believed that Retail Credit Company changed its name to Equifax to improve its image.

    Equifax is based out of Atlanta, Georgia.

  28. LLeone December 18, 2013 at 6:40PM

    In my view, there’s no real benefit to having more than 4 to 6 credit cards. You only have to rotate their usage monthly so you keep them active. Just use them to pay for stuff you’d normally pay with cash–a bag of groceries or haircut. The important thing is to find that handful of cards that suits your needs–points, miles, no fees, etc But then stop and let them grow old with you.

    Anyone who’s applying for new cards yearly–past 4 to 6 cards–is actually hurting their FICO score by lowering their average age of accounts–which is 15% of your score. Of course, The age of your oldest accounts helps–but it’s the average age of all your accounts together that assures lenders you’re not taking on too much credit–too soon.

    BTW: Rather than open more cards each year, just ask for a higher credit limit on your existing cards…This helps your score and lowers your credit utilization rates on existing balances…But ask in advance if they do a hard pull inquiry on your credit report first–before requesting a higher credit limit. Many card issuers, like American Express–will increase your limit without a hard pull–especially to valued customers.

    One word of warning: Whenever you look for a credit limit increase–call the customer service number direct so you can ask about their hard pull policy. If you request a limit increase online at a bank website–you’re more likely to get a hard pull…They usually don’t tell you this on their websites…It just suddenly shows up on your credit report the following month and dings your score 5 to 10 points….Ouch.

  29. travis vu November 30, 2013 at 6:08AM

    how many credit cards does the average 800+ credit have?

    • Joe December 28, 2013 at 11:30AM

      Travis, I don’t know about the average, but when I was 29 I had only two credit cards. I was shopping for an auto loan and found out my Equifax score was 820!

      • Credit Man February 9, 2014 at 5:36PM

        Was that score a FICO or a FAKO?

    • Honeycomb8 June 28, 2014 at 11:06PM

      I had an 814 two years ago. I had two cards. One I used every month, and paid off every month. Credit limit of about $13k on that one. I never used the other one. I had no other loans (paid off my house over 10 years before then; my paid off car didn’t show on my report any more, I think).

      My score dropped to 785 this year. Maybe because I got rid of that second card (debt availability is important, which I didn’t know at the time).

      Now I have retired early, so I imagine my credit limit will decrease.

  30. Dan November 27, 2013 at 11:55PM

    I just did a rather lengthy reply to a post on this page that has much more information than this, but feel the need to reiterate this.

    Credit bureaus house your data. Each of the three (Equifax, Experian & Transunion) use a different software program to calculate your score, better thought of as models. Each time a query is done, the software takes your raw data and generates a score. If you and I both queried you in the same minute, our scores could differ. If we did it 10 minutes later, it would once again be different in most cases. Of course with the same raw data it would only vary a very small amount, but just don’t get locked into some false sense of having a fixed number. If you’ve ever signed up for a site somewhere that supposedly “monitors” your credit. Note that 1 minutes after you do this, there will be an option to update your score.

    Hope that makes sense. On a personal note, the best advice I can give people other than what I said above, is to buy your credit reports directly from the source only. ALL others are not accurate and all these 18 yr olds saying they have a 790+ are most likely on one of those sites. I’m on two sites that are free and both show a score +100+ above what my score actually is.

    • Joshua Gardner December 9, 2013 at 3:23PM

      Im 18 with a 715, 729, 701 FICO scores. I am almost 19 with more than 20k in credit. I make multiple payments a month and never allow high utilization to report. I have cards from prime lenders such as Discover, American Express, and Barclaycard. I also get free FICO’s from Walmart discover card and Barclaycard. My credit karma score which is free is a 708. Thats pretty close.

      • Jeff March 24, 2014 at 1:49AM

        It is basically the only thing anyone needs to do to buy whatever they want! If you show low debt or no debt ratio to credit limits, the bank or credit card companies dont care what else is on it period! You put in any income you want and you can get anything you want. Balances are the only thing that screws anyone and is the largest part of a score! Timely payments do not even matter compared to this!

    • Patty Dragon December 15, 2013 at 5:18AM

      I had some credit cards that I was no longer using so I closed them out. I now checked my credit report at score sense and noticed that it dropped about 12 points…why?

      • Honeycomb8 June 28, 2014 at 11:09PM

        I learned that credit availability is important. That is, the amount of credit that has been extended to you.

        I did the same thing. Mine dropped more than that, maybe since I have only one credit card, after dropping the 2nd one that I didn’t use.

    • credit December 22, 2013 at 11:01AM

      I have a question. I’ve slogged through the Fair Credit Reporting Act. NOWHERE does it say that the Law requires the 3 credit bureaus to hold negative information–late payments, etc for 7 years. 7 years is the LIMIT, which means the Credit Bureaus can remove the information before 7 years.

      Second of all, the Credit Bureaus were NOT created by Congress. They are private companies that sell information to lenders. The Fair Credit Reporting Act was put in place for the protection, and benefit of the CONSUMER. It tells the Creditors and Credit bureaus what to do——and one of them is to place a time limit on how long credit bureaus can hold the information about delinquent payments, etc.

      So how is it that we consumers have to do whatever a single 3 digit number TELLS us to do, under the threat of unemployment and/or homelessness?

    • Credit Man February 9, 2014 at 5:49PM

      Well said Dan…… Hence FAKO scores (pronounced: FAKE-O). The credit scoring algorithm is so complex and depends on many co-dependent variables that change in flux. As Dan mentioned, credit reports are not a static document, but rather a result of a query that has been run on a group of credit bureau databases. Good luck guys!

  31. Brian November 21, 2013 at 6:30AM

    I am 40 and currently have a FICO score of 834. Started when I was 21 with one credit card in college with a small 1500.00 limit and I always utilized around 70% of that limit paying twice the minimum payment for 4 or 5 months then paying it off. Limits increased from 1500.00 to 5000.00 to 10000.00 to 25000.00 in around 3 years time. Currently of the five credit cards I have three have limits of 100000.00 and two have no limits. My job reimburses me for what I spend and has for 10 years. This allowed me to be sent an invitation four years ago by AMEX for the titanium credit card many people refer to as the “Black Card”. This card alone raised my FICO score 15 points upon issue. Why I never figured out..

  32. HK Gee November 18, 2013 at 8:55PM

    Initially, credit cards should never be used as a means to purchase but a path to build your score and track record for your future. As a college student, I was not told this and I made many mistakes. As a mother, I helped my daughter apply for her first credit card with Discover a few days after she turned 18. She was approved and received increases based on performance within the first year or so. She charged her books and then paid them off within the next 30 days. She then applied for a second card through her bank and was approved with 0% interest. She pays her cards on time (with me looking over her shoulder) and more than the minimum. She uses the cards only for tuition, books, or school related items for which she already budgeted money. The cards stay at home and are not carried around or taken to campus. Eventually, she will fly solo. (Her scores are in the high 700′s.) She is now a sophomore and just turned 19. She also has a unsub $1000 student loan which she plans on paying off with part of her summer job income. It is possible to be 23 and have an excellent score.

    • Joshua Gardner December 9, 2013 at 3:27PM

      I am 18 with 715 as an average FICO and have 20k in credit available. As someone who has researched credit extensively I will say DO NOT CHARGE TUITION! EVER!!!! Thats what student loans for. Charging tuition is a slippery sloop and if you don’t pay it in full and the teaser 0% ends it will be a lot, and can snowball her into massive debt.

  33. Mike P November 4, 2013 at 10:14AM

    I have a credit score of 801 – something I wasn’t even trying to achieve and thought I was messing up my credit score when I was actually helping it. I opened up my first bank account and credit card at 21. I didn’t use my credit card until I was about 24, when my job made huge cuts and my hours were reduced to a measly 16 hours a week, and I was in college at the time. During that period I ran out of money very quickly as I had more bills than I could afford even at that age. I began to charge everything and over time it built up to a few thousand dollars. In the meantime I did not miss a single payment and always paid more than the minimum. Eventually I finished college, got a better job, and began to pay off my debt. I financed a used car at 25 and at the time my credit score was in the 600s. I paid it off at 28 while paying off my credit card debt. By 29 all debt was gone and I bought another new car at 30 and I was completely unaware of it, but my credit score was 801! I couldn’t believe it and I asked several people I knew about it, one who worked at a bank, and they all said although I accumulated a lot of debt in a short amount of time, it was because I never missed a payment and always paid more than the minimum that my credit score was so good. Taking out car loans helped too.

  34. Dottie October 28, 2013 at 11:08AM

    I had 825 score, bought a car have line of credit and a credit card. hit very bad times, now my line of credit is almost maxed and my cc is almost maxed. my score dropped to 675. I am not working do to loss of job from work related injury, still collect comp temporarily, but have had to live off credit card for 2 yrs and can not seem to be able to pay enough on it to drop it down. interest is low at 13.7% but still too much. All these Ideas are great thanks. I have 100% for on time payments have had cc for 13 or 14 years but credit score shows only 3.5 for longest account?? Not so sure how accurate all these things are and believe that it is unfair to have it used against you when not even accurate. Also feel just because I co-signed loans for my daughters college it is held against my credit… Hope to get my high score back or back in time…

    • Honeycomb8 June 28, 2014 at 11:15PM

      Dottie: Wow, that’s rough. Hang in there. It’ll happen. 675 is not the end of the world, and in the meantime, it doesn’t really matter until you go to get a loan and want to get the best rate you can.

      What may be hurting your score is the debt-to-available-credit ratio. They figure out what % of debt you have compared with how much available credit you have to call on. You’re maxed out, so…

      As for the 3.5 incorrect number, call the agency and tell them. Then you can file with the credit agency a protest, I suppose, to the reported age of the debt. As an explanation or correction of sorts.

  35. joe October 11, 2013 at 12:42PM

    I learned one thing…
    best Is not to always pay it in full.. if your limit for example is $1500
    and you spend 480 divide that by 3 … trust me it works thats what they wanna see..

    credit.. “pay over time” they want to see interest .. (just make sure you pay on time)

    all that pay in full is BS play around .. one month half.. next month Full
    you will see your score rocket high..

    • Stephanie January 16, 2014 at 9:19PM

      This is idiotic…. Do some research. Always pay in full! FICO doesn’t want to see interest…. or anything else other than you can be responsible with credit and you pay on time. Pay min. or pay in full, FICO doesn’t care. It is in your best interest to pay in full. What idiot wants to pay more (interest) than the price of what they bought. If you can’t afford it don’t buy it. LOL

      • Zmonsta34 July 2, 2014 at 1:30PM

        I would have to disagree. I have a Father-in-law that never pays off his cards, and he regularly using them. He pays about 5 to 10 % more than the Minimum and he is doing fine. He went from Bankrupt to having a mid 700 credit score. The most important thing is to be on time and you will be fine. The big myth of paying in full every month is a choice but it is not required. I can say this as I had a score of 300 awhile back and got it to 620 in 6 months doing the same thing. I recommend that all you have to do is pay on time and above the minimum and you will be fine.

  36. paul choi September 30, 2013 at 9:57AM

    From past experience the best way to improve your credit score is to buy a couple of brand new cars (at separate times) and pay them off early. Also have a credit card utilization of 70 plus % for a year or so and then pay them all off to 0%. My wife has had credit for less than 6 years and her average is 800+. Paying off the credit cards increased her score by about 100 points.

    • JAP January 19, 2014 at 11:28PM

      Hi I have an excellent credit history where I always paid my credit card bills in full every single month without missing a beat for years. I am in my 40′s, I own my home for 12 years which I made my payments on time always. I purchased a brand new car in 2002 and completely paid it off in a very short period and All my utility bills are always paid in full on time. I do not have any outstanding debt and found out my credit score is 757 which was surprising to me because I thought it was at its highest or even at about 800. Do you have a clue as to why my score is not at 800 when my history is so outstanding?

  37. Adriana Moreno September 4, 2013 at 12:13PM

    I am 19 years old, Freshman in College, and my Credit report is at 744, I have one credit card, and the limit is at 1,200. I have had this credit card for about two years now. I charge up to a Few hundred dollars and pay off big chunks of it, until its paid off. Hope this Helps.

  38. steve August 13, 2013 at 8:53AM

    I have 4 cards. Zero balance. Will it help my credit score to use 1 – get it close to the limit (may take 2 -3 months) and then pay it off 100%. Of course, making a min payment while the balance is building. In other words, is “pushing the needle” to the top of the credit line and then paying it off entirely worth much for credit score point?

  39. test June 24, 2013 at 3:18PM

    How many months are taken into consideration when calculating utilization ratio?

    • Dan July 29, 2013 at 5:17PM

      I had a high utilization and my score was 710. I paid down both of my credit cards and my score was 771 within a month.

  40. Ro May 25, 2013 at 7:07AM

    Is it the combined balance of all my cards that should be kept under 30% or is it each individual card balance? I’ve read differently everywhere I look. I want to pay off one card which would bring me to below the 30% but I’m not sure if I should just pay down all cards to bring each under 30% and continue to pay multiple cards. Trying to buy a house in the fall and am at 698 so this decision could make or break that extra 2+ points.

    • Michael May 26, 2013 at 11:08PM

      Even having just one account with a high credit utilization (while the others have 0%) can negatively impact your score. So keep your utilization low on all of your cards.

    • Wendy August 9, 2013 at 1:01PM

      From all that I have read, and personal experience, it is the TOTAL percentage of debt to credit ratio on your credit cards. If your total credit is 10,000, and your total debt is 2,999, you’ll hit your goal. However, your score would be much higher if the ratio is below 20%. But one thing I didn’t understand until fairly recently is that the credit reporting agencies only look at your balance at the statement date. So even though my husband and I had always paid in full every month, our amount that we owed at the end of the statement period was usually pretty high. I finally found out, and made sure to keep the balance down to little or nothing for at least a couple of days before the end of the billing cycle (just to be sure) Our credit score improved by 20 points right away! Good luck with your house hunting!

      • Dan November 27, 2013 at 11:30PM

        Great post and one I’d like to expand on since so many other posts contradict your statement (this is for future readers, I’m sure you know it).

        People tend to focus on their due date. The date you need to focus on is your billing cycle close date which is approximately 21-25 days earlier. Most people may not remember how long it took to get their first statement, or “Due date”, so 25 days prior may take a minute to get adjusted, but find out your billing cycle close date and ask them when they send that info to the agencies. I have Capital One and my billing cycle closes the 12th of each month. They report to the agencies 1 day after (but still check for you). The first reporting date normally takes 2 billing cycles before they report because other wise there’s nothing to report. They’re reporting your payment record, so naturally they need to wait until you pass your first due date in order to report.

        Credit utilization is not looked at on a daily basis. It’s looked at, at the time of the report. People have this false idea that they need to forever keep their balance down below 30%. Not at all true. The only time that matters is at the end of that billing cycle when the bank reports. Two more very misunderstood things. 1 – Your Credit Utilization changes each month, without anything called “Credit Utilization history”, haha. If the last report from the bank is 50% Credit utilization, then that’s what it is for that month, or until the bank reports new data (which replaces it each month). 2 – Does high Credit utilization drop your score? Yes & NOT at all. Your score does not exist until the very moment someone does an inquiry on you. Sites like creditkarma, myFico, etc, are great for some of the info on the site, but they tell you your score has recently changed which is a lie. You can have a 99% credit utilization every day for 50 years and it will never lower your score, until that one time and only for that one moment someone does and inquiry. Say I always have a 99% CU and a bank checks my credit. They send in an inquiry and at that moment, that credit bureau’s server software (each have their own, even sites like myFico) runs your data against their credit model and there it is. Your score. Since the last report from my CC company showed a high CU then yes, my score would be lower, but if they reported the next day and I had a 0% CR and that same lender queried the same server, then the data would be different and thus a higher score. Credit Utilization means absolutely nothing until that server looks for this months data, period. Once the next report comes in from your CC company the last one is gone. The only thing updated is were you on time? Did you pay past due, and of course 1 more month added to your credit history. Credit history only tracks each month as in things like “OK”, “Delinquent”, “Collection”, etc. A bunch of small boxes with all “OK”‘s if you always pay at least your minimum. Paying it off in full every month saves you money so it’s a great habit to stay into (no interest), but people that say paying in full every month effects your credit learned bad information.

        Last thing. Each time you use your card, the merchant is charge a fee from the credit card company. They have been paid folks and paid very well I might add. NEVER does you paying them extra interest make them like you more or give you better credit haha. Hardly. They make 1-2.5% on in store purchases and over 3% from online purchases. Save your money and stop leaving a balance on your card thinking that’s why gives you good credit. If it were anything it would be more on the bad side to have a balance than good, but it’s really neither, just costs you more money.

        So be sure to have a low credit utilization on your account prior to going in for that house or car loan (or turning in that new credit card application), and follow Wendy’s advice on paying it a couple days ahead of your billing cycle close date. Capital One can take days before even posting something you charged days earlier and you can’t pay what they’re slow at posting.

  41. chichi April 7, 2013 at 10:41AM

    My cc was 799 last year. Since then I paid my student loans down from $55,000 to $9800. This is the only debt I am carrying. Nothing else changed on my credit report. Today my cc is only 780. No explanation whatsoever as to why my cc went down when my debt ratio got better and nothing else changed. This thing is crap. Mostly hocus pocus.

    • Quinn July 6, 2013 at 3:21PM

      Good Evening ChiChi,
      I currently have $27,000 in student loan debt and I need to come up with a strategy to pay it off. Any advice? Great job on paying your student loan debt down!! Thanks.

      • gregd September 11, 2013 at 10:07AM

        Work out of the US for a year or 2. Tax benefits on EXPAT status is how my wife and i knocked of $30,000+ off student debt in under a year. Southeast asia, or somewhere without western amenities and low cost of living, too. You have no choice on spending too much and it’s a trip.

      • Ashley May 31, 2014 at 8:52AM

        Debt snowball. Start with highest interest, pay that off then take what you would have been paying each month and apply to next highest bill till it’s payed off. And so on. If you have lower interest rates it might now shave as much time off but it will get them paid quicker.

  42. Karen March 5, 2013 at 10:18PM

    I’m 23. My credit score is 800. Not bad.

    • nim August 16, 2013 at 2:39PM

      that is good. but you are not helpful. say how. and make a difference. thanks

    • WC August 23, 2013 at 10:59AM

      I had a score of 780…and lost it….
      I really could use help getting back there. If you know the way, please explain.

    • k October 3, 2013 at 9:53PM

      not your fico

    • Tony October 10, 2013 at 9:34PM

      I doubt it karen

      • HK November 18, 2013 at 8:37PM

        Why?

      • HK Gee November 18, 2013 at 8:59PM

        Tony, why do you doubt it? It is very possible! Kim has earned the right to brag a bit. It would be helpful to let others know how you did it Karen,
        but that’s great all the same!

    • shawn November 7, 2013 at 4:56AM

      How did you get there so fast

    • bia December 3, 2013 at 9:57PM

      ok karen how did u do it?

  43. Dj December 12, 2012 at 7:24AM

    The creditors are greedy, They are irresponsible to America

    • Bill Carson March 3, 2013 at 9:37AM

      Yeah, they should loan their money to pay who don’t want to pay them back! What could be more fair than that?

  44. jess September 14, 2012 at 4:56PM

    I am 31 and started in 2002 and have a cc score of 772, which i think is great! How ever I “play” cc games. I am constantly given cc with zero apr so I accept and transfer and so fourth. Not sure if this helps me but it sure hasnt hurt me!! I am always on time with payment and never spend out of my means! my goal is 800 but i am content with what I have as well.

    • Dan November 27, 2013 at 11:36PM

      There is nothing wrong with doing that and banks can care less. Just be sure when you get all these new cards you don’t go closing old ones. I haven’t had any new credit changes in a decade, other than some old accounts that were in good standing fall off of my credit report. Just that cost me over 100 pts. Next year I am losing yet another one that has been closed 6 years (+1 year = 7, it falls). It’s 9 years of credit history and the only thing on my credit that old. Once that drops I’ll only have a 2 yr history and my score will probably drop another 100 or 200 pts. Live and learn I guess :’(

  45. Brittany August 26, 2012 at 6:27PM

    My credit score from experian is 596. I just recently applied for a secured card and was approved and just put a deposit on the card. I hope that my score will start to go up. I have a few things in collections that we can’t afford to pay such as 2 charged off credit cards and maybe two smaller collections accounts. The total for my 2 credit cards are about $3000 and since I can’t work for a living (yet) I live with my parents who support me financially. I will only use this secured card to buy things which I would have bought with cash, so I know I will be responsible this time. I’m 28 years old now and in college and learning more about financial responsibility. I hope my credit starts improving soon. The credit card collections accounts should drop off of my credit report in about a year or sooner, hopefully. :)

  46. eric August 12, 2012 at 10:24PM

    i hear charging 50% of your credit limit and then paying it off 100% does wonders for your credit.

  47. Beth August 7, 2012 at 3:28PM

    I’m 27, and just started working on my credit about 2 years ago. I was afraid of credit cards because my parents always had problems paying them and talked about being ‘cheated’.

    The only credit card I have is secured, with a $300 limit. I keep the balance low- 30%, though I’ve gone over that once or twice in an emergency, but paid it down as soon as possible. This time last year, my score was around 560, and I’ve been looking into getting a car loan and I am pleased to see that it's around 720 now! I envy those of you who started so young (late teens!), but I'm glad I waited until I was responsible enough. My sister got her first credit card as a teen, and her story is very different!

  48. JZ July 16, 2012 at 1:11PM

    I think it’s terrific so many young people are taking an interest in their credit score and watching/learning how their credit scores can affect their lives and livelihood.

    I’m 52 and had perfect credit for years, I had bought and sold five homes. I never had trouble buying a car. I had credit cards that had available credit of $35,000, but the balance never went near that (that is insane!) I took care of all the bills, the buying of the houses, cars etc.

    Then divorce came and the perfect storm aligned. I used proceeds from the sale of our home to purchase a new home for myself and my child. Life was dandy, child support came in on time, and I had a decent job. Then child support stopped and my home, once worth nearly 200 grand, was suddenly worth 90 grand. The renter skipped town after I had to move and I lost everything.
    Today I was asked to go on a website by a person who said I had a applied for a job with them. They wanted my credit score, which is not that bad 696, but the top of my report(s) says bankruptcy.

    Once a year I apply for a credit card so I can get turned down and get my free credit reports and score. I am working like hell to get my score up. But the law states I must wear my scarlet letter “B” for 8 years. I have become a piriah to bankers. I wonder if I do hit 720 or so, if I will still be turned down because of the Big B?

    I got a pathetic used car and had to pay 24 percent interest. I paid it on time each month and paid off the loan before it was due. The emotional toil it takes on a person is awful. I still get sick to my stomach thinking about what has happened. Having to rebuild my life at this date – more than half way through my life – is not fun. These scores and credit checks are just another way the banks control our lives, manipulating and setting high interest rates, fees, fees, fees, cheating people out of their life’s savings…Thank goodness I have a good job again, what if a credit score stopped me from working as had happened to some?

    A lesson from life: Remember bad things can happen to you that are not in your control – stock market ate a lot of my 401K and IRA – the housing bust busted me. Keep track of your money and when these bad things occur make sure you are prepared for the worst. Be prepared, save for your future!

  49. Ased June 26, 2012 at 9:19PM

    At which point is the 7 years calculated at? Last active or date reported and must I request them to be removed at the bureau level or do they come off automatically?

    • Lg July 31, 2012 at 12:53PM

      Did you get the answer to this question? I would like to know too!

    • Monica November 6, 2013 at 10:07AM

      It’s been over a year since this was posted, but I figured I’ll reply just in case someone else is browsing and would like to know.

      The 7 years is calculated from the time the account first became delinquent, it’s called original delinquency date. Original delinquency is the date when you first missed the payment and then never made another payment. They have up to 180 days of that date to start counting. So it’s 7 years, and they have up to 6 months to take it off (because of that 180 days, it just depends when they start counting it).

      You do NOT have to contact them to have the accounts removed, and I have yet to hear of anyone who did not have the accounts taken off after the 7.5 years. But of course it doesn’t hurt to watch your credit and make sure.

      Remember that the 7 years applies to basic debt, like credit cards or car loans, but bankruptcy, some utilities, tax linens, might stay on your credit longer, student loans never come off unless paid.

    • Ashley May 31, 2014 at 9:01AM

      It starts with the last communication either through court or your last payment to the creditor. If you answer a summons it starts over, if they file a garnishment renewal it starts over, if you make a payment straight to the creditor it starts over. Usually the only way to wait the seven years is to skip town or live a lonely existence because they will garnish you. It’s almost always easier to just settle with the creditor. The longer you wait the more negotiable they could be. But my husband lost a truck due to recession in 2008. He avoided the ordeal for 3 years because his ex was the main person on the note. But she stopped working so he started noticing his checks were short. He was working out of town and they had summoned him but he never got it because he was out of town so they filed a default judgement. So they took 5,000 out of the 14k they wanted and they went after her for the rest. She ended up hocking all kinds of stuff to pay up lol. Anyway. That was in 2011. So the 7 year clock started over for the last time the day that the judgement was satisfied per court record. It’s now 2014 and his score had bounced back to the high 700′s because other than losing that truck, he has only messed up once when he opened a card to get 10% off some earrings for me lol. Other than that he does direct debit to pay bills and needless to say I am the mail reader in the family so I am kind of making sure he doesn’t flub up again. He works a lot. Things happen. You just have to bounce back.

  50. CJ June 18, 2012 at 5:54AM

    I recently bought a new vehicle, and because I was financing, they had to pull my credit score. 813 was my score, and needless to say, I was pleased. One thing that has not held true for me is the idea that you must pay your credit card bill… in full…. every month. What I have found is that if you keep the amount owed less than 25% of your total credit line, your credit rating will grow.

    So, a credit line of 20k kept under 5k in balance owed should be okay. Of course, you will be charged interest or finance charges, so ultimately, if your not prepared for that…pay away. O

    Obviously, my credit card is not the only way I’ve built credit over the years. Like most with good credit, I have a mortgage that’s paid on time, same with bills etc. . I have a few store credit cards that are hardly ever used, but I keep them anyway. Remember, don’t close out cards if you can help it…..keep them….just having them helps more than you think. Good luck on the CREDIT JOURNEY!

    • Meghana April 8, 2013 at 8:33AM

      The way he is explaining is not true, when you dispute you do it directly with the bureaus only. They try to verify with the creditor, if the creditor does not verify the debt or the account it needs to come off. That is the law. Once it is removed they can not report it back. Collections are 7 years from the date of last activity, so when you pay it off to 0 that’s when the 7 years starts. It reports paid collection on your credit which is still not good.

      • jt February 7, 2014 at 1:24PM

        ALWAYS DISPUTE ANY NEGATIVE ON YOUR CREDIT REPORT—If you dispute with the bureaus play the game — send in your dispute after the 15th of the month–reason is it gives the bureaus limited time to verify with the creditor(s. The creditor has 30 days to verify(NOTE: they do not have to have the documentation to verify with the bureaus). The first of the month for most creditors is a busy time and yours might be overlooked. If your dispute is reported by a collection agency (they recieve only the overall subject details–never the original documentation)
        ALWAYS ASK FOR ORIGINAL VERIFICATION OF DOCUMENT(S) BE SENT TO YOU WITHIN 2 WEEKS MAX. If they do not send the original document(s) within the time period you requested You then send them an non-compliance letter. NOTE: ALWAYS send by US Postal Service certified mail return receipt. When they have not verified the account with proof (only original documentation to be accepted ,never a copy) send both your original letter,the non-compliance letter with a copy of the return receipt to the credit bureaus, again with a return receipt requested. MAKE 6 originals example: ORIGNIAL 1&2 OF 6 YOU KEEP) ORIGINAL 3 OF 6 (SEND TO COLLECTION AGENCY) ORIGINALs 3,4,5 OF 6 SEND ONE TO EACH CREDIT BUREAU They will have the documentation for their files and will remove the negative from you file. The reason for marking all letters as original is that a court may or may not accept copies.
        If any person wants a copy of the form letterS I have used to great sucess in the past respond to this with an address or email address.

        Keep an updating you credit bureau file — the collection agencys pass/sell their lists of uncollected debts to other agencys and the same debt may show up as a new debt by another collection agency — which will lower your score again and again– one debt showed up 4 different times on my file within several months. good luck in protecting your scores.

  51. CCJS June 15, 2012 at 1:17AM

    It still is possible to get to 800 with credit cards and a short credit age like a few other people have commented on doing so. I have had over 50 credit cards since I was 19, I am 27 now and my score is just shy of 800. I built my credit score on credit cards and have been approved for home loans in doing so. I do pay my balance in full every month and tend to only have a card for 6 months at a time and tend to get 6 cards a year. The biggest thing is paying your balance in full every month, if you don’t have the money don’t use the card.

  52. Chris June 9, 2012 at 8:53PM

    Right now I have a score of 653.

    When I was 18 I started everything off right, got a credit card, gas card, ect. Paid them off every month.

    By the time I was 20 I was a tad shy of 800. Had an incredibly high limit amex, brand new car loan, ect.

    Then of course 2 months before my 21st birthday disaster struck. I woke up one morning not knowing my name, what year it was, and everything else you should know…

    Ended up in the hospital with what they called West Nile on steroids. Was in a coma for over a month. They didn’t think I would make it and said if I did there was no way I would ever walk again.

    So here I am 6 years later, with awful credit history from basically the whole year I was on disability.

    Went from making well over a grand a week to 400 every other week. And my score dropped to about 400 :/

    Is there a way to get rid of all the awful history?

    I know time heals all wounds… But…..

    • Gina January 17, 2013 at 6:28PM

      They helped me out tremendously! It took about a year. Make sure you do not have any outstanding debts unpaid and if you do, keep track of it because they will vanish from your credit report and sneak up on you somewhere else in life..

    • Monica November 6, 2013 at 10:37AM

      Yes, there is. When you start making enough to make any payments, contact your creditors, tell them your story. A lot of them will consider taking things off your credit for any contribution towards the debt – you’d be surprised. Your story is quite unusual, I think if anyone deserves a break, it is you. If you’re dealing with collections agencies, do the same thing. Look up online how the letters should be worded (Google “sample pay for delete letter”) – it’s best done by traditional mail so you have it black on white.

      I took things off of my credit by simply sending a letter to a collections agency, offering to pay an X amount if they take it off my credit report. I did not have any kind of a compelling story, I just told them that the original creditor and I disagreed on what owed, but I made really no excuses. I just said I’m not in a position to really pay because of work situation, but since my credit score has suffered and that might get in a way of me getting a job, I’d like to make a payment in exchange for the account being taken off my credit report. That let them know that if they turn me down, I’m not gonna make good on the account at all.

      A lot of times they will take it – they work on commission, they want to make money. They will take a little over nothing – especially smaller collection agencies that bought the debt. If you’re not in a position to make any sort of a payment, wait a little, what’s done is done, and with time the old accounts stop hurting you so much, as long as you have new ones that you make good payments on. When you take off old accounts, good or bad, your credit drops a bit because the credit history is now shorter.

      Things are gonna look up, you will get a better job, and you can clean it up by talking to creditors. 99% of people will sympathize with you, especially since you were very responsible with your credit before the tragic events in your life.

      It’s amazing how people could improve their credit if they just communicated with the creditors (that’s what these credit-fixing companies do, they just charge you for the work you can do yourself). It’s always best to write letters, and point out in the letter you do not wish to be called. That way they won’t be bothering you constantly with new offers to pay it off.

  53. Ana May 30, 2012 at 8:17AM

    I’m a 19 year old with a 700 credit score I have three credit cards, but my oldest one is about a year old I don’t know how I can get my credit score to go up. I have a credit card from citi one from capital one and my last one from discover. Citi has lowered my APR and capital one has increased my credit line which is good. But I don’t know what else to do for my credit to go up. I looked at my credit reports and it say that I need some retail credit cards, but I don’t know which is a good option for me.

    • wilson July 3, 2012 at 3:41PM

      The main thing is look at your credit report and see if you find any late payments, or collection agencies.. Also do not have high balance on your credit cards. Don’t use more than 30% of your credit limit. (This can bring up your score)

      Good luck!
      Wilson

  54. Kristen May 24, 2012 at 9:17AM

    I worked in loans for years, and if you have had a credit card, or any kind of line of credit for under 5 years you are considered “soft credit” and even if on paper it shows “700″ or whatever the lenders will automatically mark you to 620 for soft credit >5 years.

  55. brandan May 13, 2012 at 12:27AM

    Great advice but last paragraph is not all true. i opened a college student credit card account when i was 18 by the time i was 19, i made my first purchase a Polaris rzrl 18k loan. had a 731 credit score. i am now almost 21, just financed a new Camaro as i have almost paid off my first big purchase and my score is a 758. hasn’t gone up a lot but im right on track to an 800+ in my early 20′s.

    • CreditCardGuru May 18, 2012 at 12:25AM

      Hi Brandon just having a college student card and a loan isn’t enough to get to 800. Plus quality trumps quantity (by that I mean the quality of how you manage your accounts).

  56. Dan April 14, 2012 at 12:06PM

    Good tips CreditCardGuru, following these guidelines does help to increase your credit score.

  57. David W April 9, 2012 at 2:17AM

    OK, trying to avoid sounding like the stereotype in that last paragraph, but I’m 20 and just hit a 750 (752, exactly) score (opened a CC the day I turned 18, but never paid an interest). What’s the best way to get to the 800+ club? The main thing holding me back now is the age of my accounts (I have three CC’s with limits of $3-5k each, but avg age is only 18 months). Also, I don’t have any installment loans, which I know will ding my score when I get a car loan here in a year or so. Best way to mitigate?

  58. julia April 4, 2012 at 3:08PM

    Thanks for the info! I had a few late payments on my mortgage (last late was May 2007). Can you tell me how long that will stay on my file? I have a score of 706 and just need to move it up to 720 to refinance

    • Credit analyst April 6, 2012 at 9:23AM

      Any delinquency present on any credit file will clear out after 7 years, hard pull inquires take two years.

    • jjames January 9, 2014 at 11:26PM

      Late payments will stay on your report for 7 years.

  59. Liz March 29, 2012 at 11:50AM

    Is it true that multiple credit inquiries (say, if you’re shopping for a car and get to that stage w/ a few different dealerships) made within 30 days will be treated as one inquiry as far as credit scores are concerned?

  60. Linda March 21, 2012 at 3:20PM

    It is really important to pay your credit balances on time to have a good credit score. Sometimes we tend to skip paying it and just pay for the minimum due amount which will result to a bigger debt.

  61. 435 Score to 760 March 3, 2012 at 9:16AM

    Two and half years ago had unfortunately fallen on hard times. Had OK credit score/than unable to pay bills credit cards home, car, and everything up to 90 days late on some things.

    Since than have all credit cards payed as agreed. Have total of five credit cards with two for 19 years. Pay all balance on credit each month keep at zero. WoW Wow I was at the bottom of credit just few years ago on my way to 800. Now that’s a story. Good luck. Score is everything.

    • debdba November 17, 2012 at 6:44PM

      (435 Score to 760) – Thanks for the encouragement. Same things happened to us and we hit bottom at 498 and are up to 634 now after 1.25 yrs, climbing slowly. But we still have a LOT of cc debt to pay off, still at 30% interest. VERY hard to get ahead with such high interest on high balances. We’re hoping for a lowering of the 30% soon. CANNOT BE EVEN 1 DAY LATE.

  62. dan February 27, 2012 at 2:16PM

    I used to have credit score of 690 three years ago. I just checked it today and it is 810. Don’t worry you will be there soon. Charge your oldest CC every month and pay it off. Don’t pay any interest, you don’t need to, soon you will be in 700 range.

  63. DealsSeeker February 16, 2012 at 9:18AM

    A score of 695 is not bad at all. You can get great credit cards with a score of 700 and up. This is just a suggestion, I suggest you do your own research, but if you are not going for a home mortgage/car loan in the near future I suggest you apply for a few credit cards.

    It’s preferable to apply on the same day so they won’t see each other’s inquiries (but be careful, only apply for 1 bank at a time, like one from Citi, one from Chase etc..) In the short term your score will go down. But in the long run, as long as you use them every month (a little bit) and pay off the ENTIRE balance every month, you will start to see your score climb. This will happen slowly so be patient. And don’t be so hard on yourself, we all make stupid mistakes.

    My score is 745 even though I had made some stupid mistakes, I used this method and it worked for me.

  64. Gill January 4, 2012 at 11:15PM

    I’m 30 and unfortunately I was irresponsible in my early twenties and now I’m paying for it. I currently have a 695 score and I’m desperate to break into the 700′s. I guess I’m just going to have to wait a few more years until my bad credit history goes away. Its sad to think that being late by one day can prevent someone from buying a home or evening getting a job under some circumstances!

    • credit December 20, 2013 at 8:12PM

      If it can prevent us from getting a job, there is something we can do about it. 25,000 petitions or more, and the White House WILL address the issue. We tell the Government what to do, not the other way around. Our lives should not be ruled by a 3 digit number.

      I personally think Credit is a scam, and a lie. If you do not have money to pay for something now, than how do we expect to pay for it later.

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