I've been snooping around on this website for the last few years and today I decided to join so I could ask for some advice.
Basically to make a long story short I've had some pretty bad dings on my credit profile over the last several years. I made some poor decisions when I was younger starting with defaulting on a BoA credit card that I opened when I was 18. I ended up ignoring the debt, debt got sold multiple times, eventually lawyer got a hold of it and smacked me with a judgement that forced me to pay. That was the nastiest hit to my credit about a year ago. I've had a handful of collection accounts here and there, only 1 remains and the others show a paid in full status or have dropped off by negotiating with the persons I owed money. These were in fact all medical debts but they still hurt my credit none the less.
My issue was that ever since I started defaulting on my BoA card I was afraid of credit, I didn't want to owe anyone money or apply for any new credit anywhere. So as a result I virtually had nothing but poor credit and no new revolving accounts.
Ever since that disaster I have been very responsible with credit and make it a point to never miss a payment, go over %50 of my available credit, etc.
I currently hold an Orchard Bank Credit Card (Recently Bought Out by Capital One) with a $300 dollar limit, this was my first CC after my BoA disaster. After that built for about 6 months I applied for a Capital One CC and was approved for $500 CL. Just a few weeks ago CapOne offered me a CLI of $500 and I accepted, making the CL for CapOne $1000.
Around August of 2012 I applied for a Discover CC (knowing Discover can be difficult to be approved for) and they instantly approved me for a $1000 CL, Discover has also upped my CL twice making my CL $1700 currently.
I hadn't applied for any credit since August of 2012 and had made a point to stay on track with all my payments and be responsible so I decided to go one final step. I had been looking at the Chase Freedom card for a while and was interested to be a card member. I had received a pre-qual notice for the Freedom card and decided to proceed, this was only a few days ago. I was assuming this would be my biggest and best card and I was going to hold off for a few years applying for anything new. To my dismay I was approved but only for a lousy $500 bucks!
Through this website I was able to track down the backdoor number to the credit analyst offices for Chase Credit and ask them what the deal was. The guy basically said he saw my blemishes and that wasn't the issue, he said I had done too much good, too quick, and he couldn't approve me for anything more than $500 dollars.
I am really confused about what's going on with my credit, it seems to be all over the place. I use credit seasame and credit karma but I don't entirely believe their scoring system, I don't think it's that accurate. To my best knowledge I believe I am around 620 - 640 between all 3 scores. I really am trying to improve my credit so I can eventually get a home loan but I seem to be stuck, it just wont climb. I've looked at my report a few times, had a home loan company check, these various credit card companies, and it's left me with like 12-15 credit inquries on my profile and that buggs me.
I really want to know what your suggestions are. I want to have good credit cards and these lousy 300 and 500 dollar cards are just a joke to me, it's a good feeling to see, "APPROVED," but it's upsetting to see the tiny amount when others have 15,000 dollars on up for their CL's. I'd love to close out my orchard card but I've been told to never close old credit cards because it messes up your length of credit history, etc.
What should I do to truly build my credit, how should I get good credit cards, how many should I have, what should I worry about?
Your help is appreciated! Thank you