Part of my 3-step plan towards owning a home was to increase my credit score this year. Well, I’m glad to say that I’ve definitely done that! I’ve partly accomplished at least one of my goals, raise my score above 700, and feel darn proud of myself (and my husband who really worked on this part). Each bureau is now reporting a score in the “good” category, an excellent is now above 760. Early in the year, my credit score was a measly 581, a ghastly poor score. And that 581 was the highest out of the 3 bureaus (see the graph below). With determination I’ve raised that score more than 100 points (one credit bureau is closer to a 200 point increase).


A look at my credit score progress over a year


How did I do it? Well, it did take a little luck in the sense that many of my negative items were set to expire this year being over 7 years old. However, most negative items don’t just fall off, they need to be disputed once they reach that 7 year mark. My husband has been incredibly diligent in making sure to mail in disputes to all 3 bureaus, then checking to make sure the negative items were actually removed the next time we pulled my report. I only have two negative items affecting my score now. The first negative item is that I don’t have a long enough credit history. So only time and age will improve this part. The other negative item is that my total credit available is small, only 2 to 3 credit accounts with small credit limits. Improving this part is a little tricky. If I apply for too many accounts, that will negatively impact my score. For now, I think I’ll wait a few months before deciding to apply for another credit account.

Another way I improved my score is by making sure that my 3 credit accounts remained in good standing. They are all paid off, so every couple of months I charge a small amount on them, to keep them active, then pay them off in full before finance charges accumulate. As long as I continue with this, it should build a solid payment history; a large part of a credit score. It’s how lenders view how responsible you are with your bills. A lender often uses payment history to decide to grant you a new loan.

The one, big, kahuna that really impacted my credit score was getting my student loans out of default this year. That was a biggy! I made 9 on-time payments to a student loan rehabilitation program and it is no longer showing up as a negative account. I am now making monthly payments to AES (American Educational Services), and this should soon build a positive payment history. Now, my husband is trying to figure out how to ask the credit bureaus to report them as one account, because currently they are listed multiple accounts, making my credit report a little bit of  a mess (and hard to read!).

Now a few notes about my scores from the 3 bureaus. You’ll notice from the chart that I’ve color coded the bubbles: Gray is the Equifax score, Green is the Transunion score, and Light Blue is the Experian score. Early in the year, Transunion was posting the highest score, and that score has risen 125 points. However, Experian has raised my score the most and is now the highest at 727. They raised my score 194 points in a year! Equifax has been plugging along and remain the lowest of the 3 scores. I don’t really know if one credit bureau is more important to lenders than another, but the end result is that my credit has gone from poor to good in less than 12 months. I’m stoked!

What has been your experience with credit score improvements? Do you know if one bureau is more important to certain types of lenders than another? Have any of you had a similar situation with student loans where they are listed a bunch of times and have been successful in getting them to report as only one or two accounts?



  1. You made some fantastic progress in the last year, congratulations! I am just curious if you happened to also track your Credit Karma numbers? I guess they use a different scoring method but I am always curious how closely they line up with the big three.
    .-= Mrs. Accountability´s last blog ..My Love/Hate Relationship with Gift Cards =-.

    • @Mrs. Accountability – Thanks! I don’t use Credit Karma mostly because I’ve been pulling my actual credit reports 3 times a year. Credit Karma claims that they show up as a “soft pull” on your credit report when you sign up with them. One user mentioned in their FAQ’s that it showed up as a “hard pull.” However, they supposedly use the Transunion scores in their graphs and charts. So, based on my Transunion score, if I did use Credit Karma it would show a score of 704.

  2. Amazing improvement in your credit score! I think a lot of people become intimidated by the process, but you proved that you can do it with hard work and motivation. Good luck with reaching your financial goals. 🙂
    .-= Patrick´s last blog ..How to Organize Your Finances with a Financial Inventory =-.

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