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30-Day Challenge #1: Get on top of your credit (January, 2018)

30-day challenges

We are pleased to announce that we're continuing our 30-day challenge series. The schedule spans the entire year so be sure to keep an eye out each month.

This month's 30-day challenge is to get on top of your credit. Here are some concrete steps you can take:

Check your free credit report

There are three major credit bureaus in the US: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These companies each gather credit histories for individuals and sell that information to credit card companies, lenders, and other financial institutions.

You can go to to get a credit report from each credit bureau once per year. It's often recommended to stagger your requests so you can get one every four months so you may only want to request one report at this time. You can use a calendar reminder to stay on top of this.

Now, your free credit report won't include your score and it also won't include credit monitoring, but you absolutely don't need to buy those from a credit bureau because there are free options. See below.

Note that the security questions will sometimes ask about intentionally false information (e.g. made-up loans), so "none of the above" may be the right answer. If you can't get past the security questions, you may have to write in to get your report. Also be aware that you don't have to pay for anything on the credit bureau sites. If you find yourself prompted for a credit card number, you might have clicked to sign up for something you might not need or want.

Also, if you have trouble with the web site, try temporarily disabling browser ad-blockers and privacy extensions.

See the Credit Reports Wiki for more information!

Sign up for free credit monitoring

You don't need to pay for credit monitoring. Some options:

  • A variety of companies such as Credit Karma and Mint offer free credit monitoring services. There's a longer list of options in our Wiki.

  • Many employers also offer free credit monitoring for their employees directly with a credit bureau. Check with your benefits department.

  • Finally, if you've been the victim of a data breach like Target or Anthem, those companies are providing free credit monitoring for anyone potentially affected.

After exploring your options, sign up with at least one of them. More information contained in the Credit Scoring Wiki.

Find out your credit score

Some credit cards actually give you a free FICO score as a benefit of having their card. Brands providing FICO scores include Discover, Citi (branded cards only), American Express, Bank of America, and Barclaycard. Here's a full list of options.

If you don't already have one of those cards, you can get your VantageScore from Credit Karma or Mint. VantageScore is used less often by creditors than FICO, but it's a usually a good estimate of your FICO score. Paying for your credit score is silly unless you're considering getting a major loan like a mortgage.

Get rid of pre-approved credit card junk mail

OptOutPrescreen.Com is the official consumer credit card reporting website to opt-out of offers of credit or insurance. It's an easy win to reduce junk mail and reduce the risk of identity theft (from someone stealing your mail). I recommend signing up unless you're in the process of building credit and actually want to receive pre-approved offers.

Are you looking to improve your credit?

Once you have a score over 740, most credit files are solid enough to qualify for prime rate lending. This means that any additional increase of your score will likely not get you better credit products.

If you are in a position where you'd like to improve your credit, here are two situations that often befall people when asking for help here:

What to do if you find information you don't recognize

Even though credit reporting is automated, mistakes can still occur. The most common errors can involve names and addresses. If your name is similar to a parent's name, there are also instances where a line of credit is reported on the wrong file.

The simplest course of action is to dispute the information with the bureaus. Here are direct links to initiate a dispute:

Finally, if you believe you've had your identity stolen, read and follow the steps in our Identity Theft Wiki.

Challenge success criteria

You've successfully completed this challenge once you've done 3 or more of the following things:

  • Requested a free credit report via

  • Set a reminder to request a different credit report in 4 months

  • Found out your credit score (either FICO or VantageScore)

  • Signed up for free credit monitoring

  • Opted out of pre-screened offers

  • Initiated a credit dispute with one or more credit bureaus

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Wiki Contributor
Moderator of r/personalfinance, speaking officiallyScore hidden · 6 months ago · Stickied comment · edited 6 months ago

Note: You can now get your FICO score for free from Discover without a credit card.

Don't live in the US? The PF wiki has many more countries covered.

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Did not know about the opt-out. My shredder thanks this challenge.

Does anyone else feel nervous about putting in your SSN?

I did the permanent opt-out through here at least a decade ago, and the credit offers stopped and stayed stopped, even through a bunch of address changes. Didn't seem to stop insurance offers though.

Me too. Incredible.

8 points · 6 months ago

I would do it if I didn't need to do it by mail :(

Assuming you have access to a printer somewhere, all you need is a few minutes with a pen, and a few minutes plus <50¢ next time you're near a post office. Doesn't seem like much of a hassle to me.

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If you go through the steps just before printing it out to mail it in, it'll still opt-out for 5 years. Permanent if you mail it.

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You'll notice the website says that is optional, but will help ensure that the right person is opted out. To verify the validity, I checked the FTC's website and sure enough:

Equifax and who knows how many other companies have probably distributed my SSN.

18 points · 6 months ago(2 children)

I called and asked a year or so ago. They need this information because they go to each individual company "authorized" to pull your credit lines and vouches for you to cancel. They need your SSN to verify your identity as a third party. The other option, they told me, was to call each company and cancel each myself.

7 points · 6 months ago

Dammit didn't see that it was optional

You're supposed to shred credit card offers? :/ I've always just ripped them in half and tossed into trash or recycling.

I think a lot of them now do online qualifications. So the shredder is the best bet. I do the same as you, but if I had a shredder there is a 70% chance I would use the shredder.

Only 70%?

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I Shred most everything that has any personal information. Quick process for my peace of mind.

6 points · 6 months ago

I put stuff in a box to shred later, just in case I accidentally put something valuable in it. But when it comes time to shred the stuff, and I get my shredder out of the closet, it takes too long. It overheats if I give it too much stuff to shred. And I have to open the envelopes and shred the contents because the sealed envelopes are too thick.

Aren't there better ways to destroy documents? I know I could burn them, if I had a fireplace. Maybe I could soak them in some kind of chemical?

27 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

Some cities offer free shredding and recycling events where 1-2 times a year, you bring your stuff and they run it through an industrial shredder and then recycle the paper fibers. Your city hall or community events center should be able to tell you if they have these and when the next one is.

You can also take it to an office supply store (Office Depot, Staples, etc) and they will shred it for you--you pay by the pound. I did a quick google search and Office Depot currently has a coupon on their website for free shredding for five pounds of paper.

Coupon is here.

Edit: hey look! I figured out how to hyperlink!

Look Ma! Clean links!

I worked for staples. They used iron mountain so your stuff goes in this super tough locked with a padlock trash bin and they pick it up a few times a week.

I've been trying to learn that trick for over a year now.

Put the word you want hyperlinked in square brackets [this] and then, immediately adjacent to it, put the link in parenthesis (, so it looks like [this]/(, but without the slash.

I got the formatting tips from here and here.

Happy linking!

2 points · 6 months ago

Occasionally you'll run into a link that you can't do this way because the link includes a ). For example, if I try to link the Wikipedia page on Star Wars (film) by saying [link](, it comes out like this: link

To fix it, you need to say something else: [link][1], then at the end of the post, put [1]: on its own line. Multiple ones will use [2], etc., and you can always do it this way if you prefer. (The source winds up looking like inline academic citations.)

8 points · 6 months ago

If you have an office job, there's a pretty good chance there is a shredder at work

This. I take mine to the office shredder.

7 points · 6 months ago

I live in the boonies and throw them in a burn barrel.

I do finances at the end of each week. All the junk mail gets looked through and shredded so it doesn't pile up. The process of shredding takes about 10 minutes. I know some people bring in their mail to work to have shredded since we have a service but used within reason. We also have free paper/electronic recycling days a couple times a year in town.

My credit union offers a free shredding drop in the branch for members. Just drop a paper bag in full of stuff to shred and it gets picked up and shredded by an industrial shredding operation regularly.

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Who was that guy who signed up for everything and heated his house by burning junk mail?

22 points · 6 months ago

Someone with an increased risk of cancer.

Well I could put the trash into a landfill where it's going to stay for millions of years, or I could burn it up, get a nice smokey smell in here and let that smoke go into the sky where it turns into stars.

26 points · 6 months ago

That doesn't sound right, but I don't know enough about stars to dispute it.

I swear I get offers in the mail every damn day.

Same here. Only I don’t have a shredder so end up ripping them up & tossing them in the same garbage bag as the used kitty litter.

I didn't know this either!

I'm glad I happened to sub here yesterday.

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Regarding getting your credit score, you don't need to have any accounts or cards to get a FREE FICO score. Discover will tell you your score even if you don't have a Discover card. Go here

When using the link you will probably have to disable any ad-blockers.

There may be other ways to get a free FICO score, too.

9 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

There are. Experian has a free account that gives you a monthly true FICO vs FAKO from CreditKarma.

2 points · 6 months ago

What is FAKO?

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FYI, the Discover site doesn't work if you have a freeze on your credit.

Requested report, checked score through my Citi card (yikes!!) and opted out of prescreened offers. My credit needs some pretty serious repair, so thank you for helping me get started.

62 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

Is there a way to subscribe to these every month?

Edit: I have been wanting to do this for a few months now but have been anxious about what I'd find, so I haven't done it. It's easier to do nothing that to do something I guess. But, because of this post, this morning I checked up on my credit while sitting in my robe and it was easy as hell. And as a bonus, I didn't even find anything wrong, so all that worrying was for nothing. Thanks /r/personalfinance, you continue to be a consistent source of positive change for me!

  • Requested a free credit report via

  • Set a reminder to request a different credit report in 4 months

  • Found out your credit score (either FICO or VantageScore)

  • Signed up for free credit monitoring

  • Opted out of pre-screened offers

  • Initiated a credit dispute with one or more credit bureaus

Glad you did it!

Maybe we could have them added as a resource?

My credit score plummeted after a measly ~$300 hospital bill went into collections. Instead of just appearing once it was split into two debts, resulting in two derogatory marks. I went from almost perfect credit to okay credit. As someone who is never late on payments let alone misses payments, this absolutely infuriates me. I can easily pay it off in one shot but was told even if I do pay it off it will still negatively affect my account. What do I do?? I plan on buying a home within the next year. I refuse to let this stupid bill ruin my chances at getting a good loan. So frustrating.

I just had this happen, but mine was split into 3. The total was correct but I wasn't going to pay and still have 3 negative marks. I disputed it through Equifax, said I didn't recognize it (as I didn't owe anyone any of those three dollar amounts), and it was deleted from all of my credit reports within a month of submitting the dispute. You can do it online through their website. I didn't submit any documents or anything, it fell on the collection agency to verify, and they couldn't because I never owed the hospital 3 times for those amounts (or they don't dedicate the resources to respond to disputes. This was Commonwealth Financial).

Good luck. A $300 collection would have been purchased for less than they would pay someone to do the research. Try disputing. Especially if the original bill was split into multiple accounts.

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Dispute it with the credit bureaus. There’s a chance they won’t bother to argue.

Is there any reason not to just always dispute everything? Is there any penalty for disputing legitimate debts?

Not that I know of.

Pay it off. In some instances, they will delete the derogatory mark for you. That is what i had them do. Might require you paying a little extra but not necessarily. But it's worth a shot to ask if they would delete it from your report completely.

8 points · 6 months ago

Note though that: (i) you should arrange this with them before paying, (ii) ideally you'd get the pay for delete in writing, and (iii) lots of places won't do this (in part, because they're kind of contractually prohibited from doing so).

That worked for me.

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Pay it immediately. If you didn't know about the bill before it went to collections and it shows that you paid it off right after you found out about it, it will look better to lenders. You can talk about this with your loan officer when you apply for a mortgage.

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How good are these Credit Cards that Credit Karma suggests for you? Should I go about signing up for one of them that they mention?

15 points · 6 months ago

I'd personally use something like credit card videos on YouTube to figure out where you stand with credit. Personally, most offers within the credit karma app are referral links that give CK money so it might not be the most accurate to your needs.

Look up credit shifu on YouTube.

Source: went from 640 to 760 in two years with 7 active credit cards and a car loan.

Also, CK doesn't even know which ones you have. 90% of the ones CK tells me to get are ones I have already.

I feel that this is actually a positive thing. Sounds like they match you up pretty well.

Credit karma routinely suggests a card I already have so in a way it's both good and bad at making suggestions. CK does have a more elaborate credit card comparison tool that I'd recommend using if you're in the market for a new card.

They’re basic. If you do research on your own, there are much better options. Source - me after being on r/churning for a year.

3 points · 6 months ago

The odds approvals aren't accurate. I have two cards, and was looking for a regular card with no annual fee. I got approved for the standard American express blue cash card. Credit karma had this card listed as poor approval rating. I got approved instantly.

All I know is Credit Karma suggested I get a secured card with an annual fee since I have no credit. That's fine, but I applied for the Discover It student card which is unsecured. I only work a few hours a week as a cashier and they gave me almost $2000 credit limit. It has cash back rewards and an amazing app. So I thought it was by far and away the best card for myself instead of some cruddy secured card.

A secured card is the common suggestion for those with no credit. Their suggestion was in line with 80% of recommendations you'll get from people familiar with credit.

10 points · 6 months ago

Hey, day one and I already cleared the challenge, nice.

Regarding the last bullet point, I'm particularly happy because I finally got rid of this collection on my Experian report. My former dentist tried to bill me for a missed appointment (that I never made in the first place) and I refused to pay it. He sent it to a really sleazy collector. They kept "verifying" it by just sending the bill for the missed appointment fee (never addressing the fact I never made that appointment in the first place). Well, tl;dr I disputed it for the umpteenth time the other day and later that day, they just removed it, no further questions.

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Great challenge to start off the new year. Successfully completed.

TIL I don’t know how credit scores work. I got a car loan and my shit went up?

a bank trusts you to pay back that loan, so youve got a higher amount of credit to your name

the real kicker is - i paid off my remaining student loans (~10kish) last summer, and my credit score went down

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Does mint still ask for all your passwords? Because that is insane.

Yep. This is why I hate Mint. Its a useful tool but it literally has all your usernames and passwrods and just logs in as you to screen scrape the bank website. Its horrifyingly insecure, you are putting your life in their hands. The only thing making people comfortable with that is that they are owned by Intuit and they assume they are trustworthy. I don't like it at all though.

Banks should have APIs for monitoring applications, that would be a better solution.

24 points · 6 months ago

Mint is working on this, and has implemented it with some banks already. For example to link your chase account, a pop up directly to chase opens. If you are logged in to chase, you simply confirm you want to give Mint access, if you are not logged in, you need to log in directly to chase, then confirm giving Mint access.

Having a good deal of concern over your financial security is completely understandable, especially considering recent issues that have occurred with other major companies.

3 points · 6 months ago

logs in as you to screen scrape the bank website.

Wait, so surely that means they're storing their user's details in plaintext, so as to be able to input them correctly into the bank website? That seems ridiculously unsafe, and just asking for catastrophic data loss/theft..

Your passwords themselves aren't stored, they're tokenized. A token is a replacement password similar to how your debit/credit card number isn't shared with a merchant via mobile wallet, but a replacement and equivalent number is used. These tokens rotate at a regular interval using a shared cryptographic secret between the client (Mint) and the server (Chase). It's a little more secure than you think.

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5 points · 6 months ago

I know the FICO scores provided by the different credit card companies in their mobile apps may not be entirely accurate, but does anyone know if some are worse than others? I have a Discover card and the FICO score there is almost 20-25 points higher than what is listed in my Bank of America app. Not sure if that’s normal or cause for concern.

Also, definitely worth it to check those scores in the app. Discover listed that my oldest account was dated two years before I was born and when I went to annual credit report’s website sure enough I found an account that wasn’t mine. Luckily it had been in good standing and was closed, but I still disputed it and had it removed.

  • Requested a free credit report via

  • Set a reminder to request a different credit report in 4 months

  • Found out your credit score (either FICO or VantageScore)

  • Signed up for free credit monitoring

  • Opted out of pre-screened offers

  • Initiated a credit dispute with one or more credit bureaus

PF, you are such a positive influence in my life! Opting out of pre-screened offers would be benefit enough, but it feels good to finally get on top of my credit. Didn't think I was going to have to dispute anything, but the credit report I ordered claimed my employer was the same as my first job! Go figure.

I've been using Credit Karma for years and have never had to pay interest (balance transfers onto 0% interest cards—definite pros and cons), but this is the month that I FINALLY pay down all of my balances. I'm so close and so excited that I almost dipped into my savings just to finally be rid of it all now.

I've never participated in the PF 30-Day Challenges before, and it feels good to be off to a strong start. Thanks for being such a valuable community!

Recently quit a job that I hated, found out that I had $10,000 from my pension that I could pull out, paid off all my debts I still have half left. Makes life much better!

As a card-carrying (pun intended) member of /r/churning, I think this one is an automatic complete for me.

6 points · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

I decided to get my first credit card because of this post today. I was approved! My Equifax score dropped 15 pts and Transunion increased by 1 pt because of the inquiry. That sucked but I hope it adjusts with good credit use soon.

I check my credit score a couple times a week via CK. Today I requested a credit report, set up reminders for the next two, opted out of pre-screen offers, and initiated a dispute for a weird address on my report that combines my apt # from one I lived in four years ago with my current residential home in another side of the country. Thanks for the challenge!

Edit: I can't read. CK doesn't provide FICO scores.

I got one today as well. First one in over 15 years. Just for getting my score up though and I was approved instantly. My score didn't drop but it may still. I do know though it will go back up again. My fiances always does the same thing.

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The only negatives I have on my credit, according to Credit Karma, are average age of account, and number of accounts. Would it make sense to open new accounts just to increase this number? But then also wouldn't that decrease the average age of accounts, pulling down the other metric? Very confused on what I should do here, other than not care.

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Jumping on this. I did my report, I'm setting up reminders every 4 months, and got my credit score. Now to continue working to pay off my debts to get that score up.


Ive had a credit card for over 5 years now, however my max limit on the card is very low. Am i better off asking them to raise my max limit or should I apply for a second line of credit with another company, and still keeping my original credit card and line of credit. Not really sure if it matters or not or if there are pros and cons to either, but figured ill see if any one can give me insight. My credit score is roughly high 600s-low 700s.

My guess is applying for a second line if credit. If you ask your current creditor, they will most likely do a hard inquiry (unless you get free credit monitoring through them already. In that case, they will use that instead and no harm is done to your score.)

Then you will have two lines of credit instead of one. Having more credit accounts is favorable to your score than too few.

Keep in mind, your average age of credit account history will drop because from 5 years to 2.5 years by adding another card. But in my opinion, it will not be a much of a significant factor in your overall score.

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Credit increase request, though is there a reason you want more credit? The amount of new cards you can apply for is not unlimited; don't waste a new credit card slot just to be able to say you have a larger credit limit.

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Took this challenge on my own last year and in one year’s time I’ve come from 590 - 750. Life is just so much easier after taking responsibility for my money mistakes. I have 0 debt, a few great credit cards that earn me points and every damn bill is on auto-pay. I highly recommend.

10 points · 6 months ago(0 children)

Really curious about the trustworthiness of the opt out page. Don't know how I feel about entering my SSN. Would love to see if any can shed some color on it.

You don’t have to add your SSN or your phone number. I just put my name and address in.

Trustworthy and mailbox life changing.

/u/mrsmcpackard posted this above:

To verify the validity, I checked the FTC's website and sure enough:

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What if I froze my credit with all three agencies after the Equidax fiasco? Would I still be able to check my credit? Would I have to pay to unfreeze and refreeze? If my credit's been frozen since September, is there a point to looking at my credit at all? And last question -- how is it that I'm still getting credit card offers and can still see my updated credit score from my bank if my credit is locked down?

Freeze effect is more for alerting to new accounts or preventing fraud accounts from being opened. Your credit report still exists and can be viewed when it is frozen. Your bank is getting updated scores from educated guesses. This does not pull a hard inquiry to check. Through your bank is a great place to start.

Gotcha! I'll check to make sure it's all accurate then and at the very least stop these credit offers from coming to me in the mail. They drice my crazy!

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Is credit karma legit? CKs TransUnion and Equifax scores compared to my fico supplied by Discover are very different. Granted I understand they are different departments. But it made me wonder. I just don't know what's the better representation of my score. I don't tend to trust anything "free".

Credit Karma is what I used to rebuild my credit. It’s easy to use and fairly accurate. It really helped me to understand what makes my score go up/down and it was interesting to see how different my score could be between Equifax and Transunion.

I also read the reviews for credit cards before applying. My first card was Discover (a card I wouldn’t have even thought to apply for) and I could not have been more pleased with that choice. It’s been smooth sailing since then.

Edited to add: I just checked my score on CK for the first time in forever and it’s considered excellent by both agencies. That’s a first for me!!!

I’ve used it for a long time.

It seems pretty decent, the score is a soft check and also seems to be within a fairly accurate range.

I’ll defer to others here more knowledgeable on the subject beyond my own limited experience.

all of them are not 100% accurate. They follow a formula, but in actuality, they are just really good guesses, sometimes really bad guesses lol.

CK is really good for checking your report, Disputing with Transunion (Only Transunion), and monitoring your report, making sure new cards arent opened without your knowledge.

I personally use CK as a guideline and a safety measure against identity Theft. You can go to the actual bureaus websites and request your score for a fee, OR

You only get it 1nce a year. So you can pull 1 burea, than anothers after some fixes. Personally I find it best to set your self up with CK, work on credit, and pull it prior to applying for a mortgage/special finance (AC/Car/Solar Panels) etc.

In my experience, CK is significantly off. My scores from Discover, Chase, and my bank's Identity Alert are all very similar. CK is in another part of the park playing alone. Your mileage may vary.

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3 points · 6 months ago

I started trying to increase my credit 3 months ago and its been going great so far. I had no credit, and I applied for two cards and got an unsecured discover card with a $500 limit, and a capital one secured card with a $200 limit.

Started building my credit in late September. I only use around 10-15% of my total available credit every month, and I pay my bill in full every month.

According to Credit Karma, my Transunion score was 552 on September 26th. It is now 670. My Equifax score was apparently 0 on Sept.26, and its now 685.

This is only 3 months of having credit cards. 2 weeks ago Discover increased my credit line to $1500, from $500. I also just got approved for an American express credit card.

Don't really know what else there is to do to improve my score - I think the only thing I can do is to just keep doing what i've been doing, low credit utilization + paying on time in full.

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  • Requested a free credit report via

  • Set a reminder to request a different credit report in 4 months

  • Found out your credit score (either FICO or VantageScore)

  • Signed up for free credit monitoring

  • Opted out of pre-screened offers

  • Initiated a credit dispute with one or more credit bureaus

January challenge in the bag! I have a credit score of 813. :)

3 points · 6 months ago

Does anyone know if will warn you if you're about to check a report less than a year after you last checked it? I just checked my Equifax report, and I checked TransUnion in September 2017. It looked like nothing was stopping me from checking TransUnion again though.

  • Requested a free credit report via ((Got Transunion! Nothing weird!)

  • Set a reminder to request a different credit report in 4 months ((Set a reminder on May 1st and September 1st))

  • Found out your credit score (either FICO or VantageScore) ((I have Credit Karma and Capital One's service, but am considering applying for a Citi double cash card for the FICO score it provides))

  • Signed up for free credit monitoring ((Again, I have credit karma and I use mint a ton)

  • Opted out of pre-screened offers ((Something I actually don't want to do for now, lol)

  • Initiated a credit dispute with one or more credit bureaus ((Unnecessary for now!)

3/3 done! Might be getting a fourth item now :).

2 points · 6 months ago

Question for the audience. I have this $6k line of credit open from when I was thinking about getting Invisalign. I decided not to move forward but it's still open on my credit report (I guess cause I was approved?). It shows that I owe $0, has no negative remarks or anything, and has been open for 4 years with a last reported date from 3 years ago.

Should I close it? I can't see any negative effects from keeping it open but for some reason it makes me uncomfortable, as if someone one day is going to say I owe the money or something.

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I moved to the US a few months ago and just requested my first credit report. I lived at a temporary address for two months before moving to my current address. Both addresses appear on my credit report, but in the wrong order: the temporary address is listed as current, and my actual current address is listed as former. Should I be concerned about this? How would I go about correcting it?

No need to try and improve your debt score. Get out of debt, stay out of debt, keep a score of zero. Use manual underwriting to buy a house. r/daveramsey

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Thank you for these great tips!

Why all the hate for pre-screened offers? I use them as a cross-check on my credit health... If I'm getting premium offers, all's good. If the offers suddenly tank, time to pull my reports. Maybe I want to add another 18 month 0% card to my wallet.

Also, I love to shred =)

As this kind of info is typically US-centered, does anyone here know how you would go about checking your credit score in Europe?

Is 807 good?

Wiki Contributor
11 points · 6 months ago

No, it's excellent.

Are you being serious?

yes, its 807

great, actually. Congrats bud

Once you have a score over 740, most credit files are solid enough to qualify for prime rate lending. This means that any additional increase of your score will likely not get you better credit products.

Some of us want a 0 credit score, there is a third option. Pay off all your debt and never borrow money again.


That only makes sense if you have no self control.

2 points · 6 months ago

Dave Ramsey's advice is good for getting out of debt, but not so good once you're out of debt assuming you have self control.

Why would you give up both the financial security of being able to charge back fraudulent charges (nigh impossible with debit) and get a free 1-5% discount on your purchases via rewards, assuming you can keep yourself from overcharging on the card?

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Am I able to contest items on my credit report that were assigned to my ex during a divorce if I am neither a co-applicant or authorized user? My credit score sucks and I want to refinance part of my debt, which would be easier if my credit score was better without her debt.

If you are talking about something like a house or a car, the bank doesn't care what your divorce decree states. Unless your ex is able to refinance solely in their name (which not not be possible), you are still both equally responsible to pay the debt.

It's credit debt and non-student loans.

CreditKarma gives you the option to dispute things on your credit report and has "divorce" listed as one of the reasons for a dispute. I don't know what happens after that, but I saw it and thought it might help a little bit. It might get you headed in the right direction?

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What are the websites for pulling your credit report in Canada?

There are two national credit bureaus in Canada. You can request the reports from them below:

Equifax Canada:

TransUnion Canada:

Thank you

Checked my TransUnion score. Will check another report in 4 month.

Good stuff.

Not sure if this score is fully accurate but when you have a CITI bank account you can check a soft screen version of your credit score.

(This does not replace running your free credit score in any way and should not be the only form to check your credit)

With that said on the CITI banking app under 'Services' you will see an option in the drop down for 'Your FICO score'

Would love to know if this only applies if you have a credit card with CITI since my boyfriend and I both do and we both have the option.

Hope it helps someone!

1 point · 6 months ago

Can someone give me some info on this please? I did this a week ago but stupidly did it by clicking the link on my bacon reader app. So I couldn't actually do anything but look through the report. Can I contact a web site or something to ask for another free access if I explain the situation?

I’m 23 and have never had a credit card. I have $14,000 in savings/checking, $25,0000 of student loan debt, and a job paying $35,000 a year.

What credit card should I get?

Bank Card. Ask your bank, look for a Secured Card first. You'll likely have to pay for the card as a deposit, than you get that deposit back after it becomes unsecured. It works exactly like a regular credit card. Took me a year of 100% on time payments, it automatically got upgraded from $500 with a $200 deposit, to $2000, and deposit refunded.

Also, I'd look into investing that Money, after ofcourse you apply for your credit card. Either pay into your student loans so you don't have to pay to much interest, or look into buying a house.

To me a house is the greatest investment. Current market is good for it, and your basically paying interesting on a super long term savings account. By the time your 53, you'll own the home. Than you can retire with little to no cost of living.

You'll likely have to pay for the card as a deposit, than you get that deposit back after it becomes unsecured.

Not all banks graduate secured cards to unsecured. I know for a fact, and to my detriment, that USAA does not do it.


Interesting thanks, so get a card at the same bank I have my checking/savings account? Someone else had mentioned to me to avoid doing this for some reason and to go through a credit union instead? I’ve gotten a bunch of offers from different companies but haven’t researched any.

Also if you’ve never had a credit score is your score really low or is it nonexistent? When I moved into my first apartment I got a notice saying I had to pay a higher deposit because my credit score was “343” but I’ve never bought anything on credit other than student loans which I’ve never missed a payment. I bought my car in full too.

you probably just don't have credit, thats why they said 343.

I had received plenty of offers from many different companies, but they were not pre-approved, so when I applied, I got denied. So just because they offer, doesn't mean you have it, it has to say pre-approved.

I went through my bank, Bank of America. They had a Secured option, and I was ok with the rates. I knew that I wasn't going to use that often, other than to "buy credit". Basically you want to go with the lowest Interest rate on debt, that way if you use a bunch of your credit in an emergency you aren't paying 4x as much in interest over the next year.

Best practice, if your looking to improve your score, or "buy Credit" as I call it, look for a secured card somewhere, (I know Chase doenst offer a secured card, my gf tried there, and will eventually get a Bofa). Keep the usage between 1%-30%. The lower the usage, with payments on or 2-3 days before the due date. After a year of this, your credit will go up, as long as you have 100% on time payments.

The Factors that determine your score are as follows:

•Hard Inquiries (those offers will do a Hard Inq, lowering your score, the more there are. Try to limit these, and don't apply if you think you won't get it.)

•Credit Limit to Debt Ratio - Try to keep your usage between 1-30%. If you have a Credit Limit of $500, use at most $150, and pay it back at the end of the month. You could keep a $10 balance at the end of the month as well, it all depends on when that agency reports to the bureaus. You can check this by watching when your Credit Karma updates. Personally I like to see it update than pay it by due date.

•Amount of Accounts - This gets tricky, while HI's are bad, the more accounts you have the better. It shows your good at balancing multiple accounts.

•Age of accounts - The most annoying 1, just keep paying your bills on time, and this will come.

•Derogatory Marks - Obviously any accounts going into collections will hurt you, as well as late payments but..

•Payment History - Lastly just pay your bills on time. Set up a schedule, I personally have everything on auto pay & for whats not on auto pay, I have 3 reminders set, so if I am busy when the first calendar reminder happens the 2nd or 3rd will get me to do it on time. This was easy once I started doing this, but up untill I was about 22, I did not pay anything on time, rent/AutoInsurance/electric/Cable/phone/ anything and everything was atleast a week or 2 late.

As far Credit Union vs Bank, I personally prefer using my bank, simply because the APP is actually good, the payments happen immediately, and the customer service is good. I can view both my bank account next to my credit account in the app, and it just feels better to use it this way. Is it the cheapest? probably not, but its a convenience I don't mind paying, since the cost is relatively minimal in the grand scheme of things.

Thanks so much for taking the time to right this, this is really helpful. I bank at Huntington and am going to go talk to somebody there next week. What’s APP?

Phone App. That way you can check your bank account straight from your phone app, instead of calling ro going to a computer. You can also pay most of your bills via different company apps. Like all of my credit cards are paid via the Credit card company App.

FYI, after like 6 months of on time payments, pre-approved offers will start flying in from random companies, IE Merrick Bank, or companies like "Credit One" with a similar logo to "Capital One" etc. I would advise against these cards. They will do what a credit card does, but the support is mediocre, and while I havent had issues with Merrick, I regret getting the card myself, as I would much rather have a AMEX or some other big brand CC. My problem is if I cancel the card it will temporarily hurt my score, and when applying for a new card, it will also hurt my score by lowering my Age of Credit.

Personally I am looking to time my change over in credit cards perfectly, a few months after using my credit to get a solar panel system. Than i'll cancel Merrick, and apply for a AMEX or some other card (who ever offers the most basically.) and ask for credit increases on my BOFA & Amazon Store card. This way I'll have 3 Credit cards, 1 mortgage, and more than enough credit to play with.

Have you ever had anything go to collections? 343 is still low for someone with no credit history (because while you don't have good credit reports, you also should have none bad). You might want to check your credit report to see if anything bad pops up.

Never. Never been late on rent, bills, or loans, and never had a car payment.

You could have something accidentally attributed to you or done through identity theft. Check that credit report.

What’s the best way to do this for free?

Check out OPs post, specifically the part Check your free credit report at the top.

Thanks, probably should have read before commenting

hey fyi, Credit Karma will also let you know, you'll see a free credit report with a guess of score.

According to u/getmoney7356 not all secured cards will graduate to full fledged unsecured cards. So do your due diligence, and check up on that before applying. Nothing worse than being stuck with a crappy card for a while.

Is there an advantage to secured cards over something like Discover It?

Secured cards are easier to get for those who don't have any credit, since regular cards are far more likely to be declined, thus hurting your chances of getting credit.

My understanding is those discover cards are easy to get. I make less than 5k (not 50) a year and have no credit history. Got approved immediately.

Discover It is supposedly a Secured Card, with a min $200 deposit.

Weird, mine didn't ask for any deposit

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First ever Personal Finance Completed (minus initiated credit dispute).

I already track my credit every month. 753 as of right now.

I just finished this, and am currently waiting for the disputes to be resolved. This is like 1 of my favorite things to do.

A few years ago I paid off all of my debt in collections. Built up some credit and bought a house last year. This year I want things like Solar panels, and I need better credit. So I decided to Dispute all of my previous debt, all of it was small, but currently its just $0 sitting in on my report. Other than that I have multiple credit cards, and a mortgage with 100% on time payment. So as soon as those 5 bad accounts get knocked off all credit bureau, my score should be really high.

Its almost like a Real life rating score, Like this is how good I am at life. #NerdLife

If my credit score is 830 (and has been for years on end), should/do I still need to check my credit report? I currently get free monthly credit scores from BoA and Discover.

You should just every so often. You never know when they may make a mistake or someone steals your stuff.

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  • Signed up for free credit monitoring

  • Looked at credit score (VantageScore)

  • Opted out of pre-screened offers

Thank you for encouraging me to tackle my credit!

My friend mentioned that you can open an account with Morgan Stanley and deposit $2,500, which they will then provide free credit monitoring from there out.

I really don't know if disputing anything with the bureaus does much good. I certainly haven't had any luck.

All my important documents were physically stolen from my house early last year -- right before the Equifax hack, which also supposedly exposed my information. I just found a hard inquiry from Comcast in California (I live in a completely different state in a town not even served by them) on my Equifax report and Equifax basically told me to go to hell when I tried to dispute it (they fired off an automated denial letter within 24 hours after I reported it to their useless foreign call center). That's a lot of nerve coming from those complete fuck-ups.

So now I guess I'm stuck trying to get ahold of the worst corporation in America to try and get them to fix it, like they'll even care. It's pretty discouraging. I did file a police report back when the burglary happened, and I just made an identity theft report with the FTC so maybe that'll provide some leverage, but who knows?

If you follow the process on they're required to remove it from your credit reports within 4 days.

Looking to improve further after I had the only bad marka on my credit removed. It was a medical bill that went into collections while I was out of work, but it was split into 3 separate accounts (thus 3 collections) for some reason. It destroyed my credit for years and I finally disputed it after it was passed to another collection agency. It was completely removed. My credit score has went up by 85 points since April. Next step is refinancing my car (10.76%). I have the problem of short average account age (2 years, oldest account 10 years), which only time can fix.

After I pay off my balance (At 7% utilization right now), what else can I do besides continuing to use my credit cards and not carrying a balance? No more negative marks to remove. Next step is refinancing the car so I can pay that down quicker. At this point is it just "wait and don't screw up" to increase my score?

At this point is it just "wait and don't screw up" to increase my score?

Yup. Just keep paying off stuff on time and you're good.

Doesn't requesting your credit score drop it a little? Or is this just a myth?

It won’t drop. Credit monitoring is a soft pull and won’t negatively impact your score. Hard inquiries, such as credit applications used to make approve/deny decisions do cause your score to drop just a little.


Completed. Thanks for this!

Didn't know you could opt-out of the junk mail. Feels good! As far as the challenge goes, I don't really do these, but I did check up with CreditKarma, checked my FICO score with Bank of America, and got that opt-out going. I feel very successful right now!

Can I dispute something that happened years ago? How long do black marks stay on your credit report? About 3 years ago I had a doctor send me a bill to my parents address and they waited a year to give it to me. Payed it off as soon as I knew!

Hell yeah you can. I had a dental visit for my daughter from 2012 on my report a couple years ago that I know I didn’t owe. I wouldn’t take my daughter to the dentist without insurance. They took it off in less than a week.

If we froze our accounts after the Equifax hack, does that prevent us from requesting copies of our own credit reports on I just tried, and it gave an error saying "A condition exists that prevents Experian from being able to accept your request at this time" which I assume is referencing the freeze?

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I have a collections account that just hit 7 years. How do i go about that getting it removed? It’s a rather large medical one that would be nice to have removed.

Click the links in the post above to dispute it. One of the options is that the debt is old and should be removed. Select that one.

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I got one of my free reports and set a reminder to get another every 4 months. Also did the same for my wife. Luckily no surprises. Also checked my score via credit karma, and reminded myself to check each month. Opted out of credit offers, which is awesome. Need to talk with my wife about checking her credit score and opting out of offers. I assume she wants to do those things, but don't want to be wrong.

Question: do any of you with young children do anything regularly to monitor their credit? I looked into it briefly and it seems I'd need to send out my child's SSN via mail, which seems riskier than it's worth, since I have no reason to suspect a breach. Thoughts and best practices?

1 point · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

So credit is above 740 and tried to get a car loan. had a hard time approving it. They said I don't hav any loans which is bad. How do I get that up?

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Does the opt out also stops loan offers? It’s so annoying!

WellsFargo shows you your FICO score now

I have worked on mine for years to get it where I wanted it, now I have recently caused myself some huge score drops and I'm in for this challenge. P.S. From 745 to 629 due to new credit opened, closed, and utilization high right now.

I have an auto-loan which I am going to pay off over 3 years. I pulled my Equifax credit report and it shows that my "Debt-to-Credit Ratio" for that auto-loan is 73%, which is accurate since its been less than a 1 year since I took out the loan.

Now when i check my credit score through my credit cards, I always get the message that "Used Credit as a proportion of available credit is too high" when in fact I use <20% credit available through my cards.

So, Is the 73% on my auto loan impacting my credit score negatively? Of course, there isnt any "available credit" on my Auto Loan so it will stay high until the last few months.

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A good reason to do this as I learned when I did my yearly check four days ago:

Five years ago i had a furniture purchase go to collections. I did a payment plan and paid it off in full in two years.

Fast forward to earlier this week and for some reason my score of 748 that I’ve worked hard to get to after dropping to the low 500s was down 60 points. After looking at my credit reports it turned out that the furniture company reopened my previously charged off account and charged it off again...with a full balance.

I received my ‘paid in full’ notice from the collection agency and will be faxing it back to the bank next week requesting them to correct the mistake. It should still be charged off, but at least it would be paid and will be gone in two more years instead of seven.

Wasn't this last January's challenge too?

Luckily for me I spent all winter break studying the sub's wiki and FAQ on credit before deciding on a card. Got in the mail a few days ago, already put a few charges on it.

I think my own personal challenge for this month is completing FAFSA, making a resumé and applying for summer internships.

what is the best credit utilization ratio?

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Credit Karma is a fantastic app for free credit checking! Shows virtually everything you need to see.

1 point · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

I'm really excited to work through these challenges! I've lurked on the community for a long time and this is a great way to get myself out there. Taking charge of our finances is one of my top three goals this year and this is so timely. Thank you! I'll come back and strike these out as I do them:

  • Requested a free credit report via

  • Set a reminder to request a different credit report in 4 months

  • Found out your credit score (either FICO or VantageScore)

  • Signed up for free credit monitoring

  • Opted out of pre-screened offers

  • Initiated a credit dispute with one or more credit bureaus

updated: 1/7/2018

1 point · 6 months ago · edited 6 months ago

Found out your credit score

Signed up for free credit monitoring

Opted out of pre-screened offers

Does anyone know if I can sign up with Credit Karma if I already have a security freeze with the major credit bureaus?

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I've been a lurker in PF for over a year now, and want to be more active by partaking in these challe he's this year. I requested my credit report last February. I am not sure if I got all 3 reports at once, but is there a way to find out?

What happens if there is nothing to dispute, and I recognize the inquiries? I can't complete the challenge then, but this is still a good thing.

I was under the impression that freezing one's credit doesn't prevent you from getting a report, but I can't get a report right now, from anyone. Equifax's page won't load, and with TransUnion, I get

The Identity Security System confirms your identity through a series of questions based on accounts and personal information contained in your Free Annual Credit Report. The system was unable to get enough information from the Free Annual Credit Report to complete this process.

I've gotten reports for several years now--I usually do it every January--and this is the first time I've been unable to get a report. It's also the first time I've frozen my credit. Could there be a relationship?

Didn’t know about the opt out website, will absolutely be doing that tomorrow morning. My family has a horrible habit of not checking the mail, and I’ve been getting these things out the wazoo.

I’d like a better card someday (current is only a max limit if 1k, but I haven’t upgraded by choice), but not at the risk of someone jacking my mail. I caught a neighbor going through all our mailboxes (live on a road where they group them together. Stupidest idea in the planet). Neighbor didn’t take anything and was frustrated the mail didn’t run yet, but my blood boiled all the same. And the mail man has given our mail to a different neighbor on accident...multiple times. No thanks.

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