GettingAhead wrote:A few years ago, I jacked up my credit score with a few late payments on a personal loan through my bank.
If those are on your reports (maybe not since CK says you're good on this?) then those are you biggest problems and you need to look into what you can do about them.
GettingAhead wrote:As of last month, my credit score through TU was only 655
GettingAhead wrote:Then, unfortunately, this month, when I checked CreditKarma, I learned my credit score fell to 577. I feel very defeated.
Where did the first score come from? The CK score doesn't really mean much.
GettingAhead wrote:When the end of the month came, I had a balance (which I immediately paid off) and, per CreditKarma, I ended up 33% overall utilization (including what I'm actively paying on FingerHut). I am floored to see that something I thought was supposed to improve my credit actually made it worse. Why?
Why do you think that would help your credit? Exceeding 30% does not help. 30% is the generally recommended max -- as in "do not exceed". Ideal is much lower.
GettingAhead wrote:A few more details per CreditKarma
CK's a dubious resource but it's not entirely incorrect on all matters. I'd recommend starting with this as it shows how the various factors impact your FICO and it's from a reputable source (myFICO -- not the myFICO forums which aren't highly regarded around here):http://www.myfico.com/crediteducation/whatsinyourscore.aspx
Payment History is the biggest slice and there has the biggest impact. That's why you need to look into your derogs first as they are dragging down your payment history no matter how much positive payment history you've built up since then.
Utilization (Amounts Owed) is the next biggest slice and that's why exceeding 30% didn't help your score. Luckily, you can adjust utilization from month to month and your score can rebound from whatever hit it took from the increased utilization.
AAoA (Length of Credit History) just takes time to build. CK's info is useless in this area since it only factors in open accounts. In other words, CK is giving you AAoOA while FICO considers AAoA. The latter includes your closed accounts that are still on your reports.
New Credit is basically impacted by hard pulls.
Types of Credit refers to the variety of credit in your profile. That said, don't go out seeking installments just for scoring purposes.
tl;dr - Your problems are basically the lates (if on your reports) and your thin profile. You're going to take hits while you build your profile as you can't add accounts without taking hard pulls and reducing your AAoA. However, with responsible time and usage you'll get there. However, your derogs will hold you back if you can't get rid of them. The effect will eventually taper off over the years and diminish when they fall off but you'll probably experience slow growth until then. Again, I recommend seeing what you can do about them.
Make sure you're keeping an eye on all 3 reports and not just TU via CK.