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Its been a journey paying off old debts and getting some creditors to wipe the slate clean. Below is my current situation. Any tips/recommendations on which way to go? 2 accounts are closed. enter image description here

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    A high credit score is a tool not a goal. What are you planning to use it for? Recommendations are different if you're trying to get a mortgage vs if you have your eye on a specific rewards credit card. – Ben Voigt Feb 3 at 20:32
  • A credit score is simply a score that tells the lender "this person likes paying banks money". Financial Expert Dave Ramsey has this to say about growing your score: daveramsey.com/blog/the-number-one-way-credit-score. It's better to have no score than to waste money building an artificial one. Even for a mortgage, if you have a strong down payment, you can do manual underwriting. (Not every lender does manual underwriting,) – Adam Klump Feb 4 at 5:24
  • Try reading the following books from the library before looking to increase your score: Total Money Makeover, Millionaire Next Door and Everyday Millionaire. – Adam Klump Feb 4 at 5:40
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    How much debt do you have? How long have you had the debt? There seems to be a discrepancy here: You day that you have old debts, but your screenshot says you have no payment history, no account age, and no credit card utilization. Something seems to be wrong with the data. Have you seen your credit report, and does it match reality? Where did this screenshot come from? – Ben Miller Feb 4 at 12:27
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    @BenMiller I recently paid off all my accounts. The 2 accounts you see here are only my car loan that I owe 1200 and its paid off (i havent been the best at paying hence the low score) 2nd would be a bank loan that is closed out 6 yrs ago. Now I have absolutely nothing on my report except the low score that is trending upwards but slowly. How would I kick start this to apply for mortgage? Relatively soon as I hate my living situation but well....im making way more money now ;) – a10ciod Feb 5 at 4:36
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From what I can tell your problem is simply that you have too little credit. You have too few credit cards and loans, with too small of credit limits, and your open accounts are not old enough.

Also you have a few hard inquiries, but those will go away soon enough. Nothing you can do about that but wait.

You need to do the following:

  • Don't close credit card accounts. Especially not your oldest account. You don't have to use them (just use them enough to keep them alive), but don't close them. For at least the next decade, do not close any accounts.
  • You will want to open some more accounts, though you will likely need to wait until your score goes up when those hard pulls inquiries off. Store credit cards (like a J C Penny card) are one option if you can't get a good credit card. Also consider opening a line of credit with your savings account bank. Again, don't use it, just have it. Wait a while until at least one hard pull falls off and then open a credit card somewhere you know you will get approved (don't want another hard pull without getting the benefit of a new credit card).
  • As your credit gets better, ask for an increase in your credit limit for each credit card you have. Do this once a year, or once every 6 months if your credit gets good.
  • Make payments on time on all your accounts, always. Obviously.
  • Keep balances low on any credit cards you get. Maybe buy something really big with them but then pay it all off as soon as you can.

That's really it. Having good credit is not rocket science. You just need lots of credit cards and a loan or two, all with 100% on-time payment and plenty of unutilized credit capacity. And you need it for some years. It sounds like you have been doing the opposite of what's needed (by closing accounts and maybe avoiding opening them).

  • Just when I started typing, your answer popped up. You nailed it. +1. – JoeTaxpayer Feb 3 at 21:47
  • Do you know how long it typically takes for Hard Inquires to fall off your report? – a10ciod Feb 4 at 0:45
  • @a10ciod: Usually 24 months to fall off the report (the version people besides you can see), but only 12 months to fall out of the score calculation. – Ben Voigt Feb 4 at 1:58
  • I wouldn't say "lots of credit cards"... My parents have 1 and 0 loans and they have a 800+ credit score. I would argue the best way is to just pay your debts on time. – Michael Feb 5 at 0:12

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