How I Raised My Credit Score 200 Points in a Year
When Jeromy Arroyo was growing up, there was a subject “that was pretty much off limits at home and school,” he said.
That subject was personal finances. To be a little more specific: credit card finances.
“Nobody at home or school ever talked about credit and how it affects your life or what you should do to get a good credit score,” Arroyo said. “It was sort like you were thrown out there on your own to learn as you go.
“Good luck with that!”
Arroyo says he didn’t have good luck with it until he enrolled in InCharge Debt Solutions Credit Report Education a little more than a year ago.
His credit score at the time was “somewhere in the 500s” and nobody wanted to offer him credit.
“They all told me the same thing,’’ he said. “You need to do something about your credit score.”
So he went online and searched for help. He found InCharge’s Credit Report Education. The economical price — $49 – caught his eye and he was sold.
“They weren’t charging an arm and a leg for the course and that’s what got my attention,” Arroyo said. “But what I really liked was my counselor. She was really polite, caring, very patient with explaining how credit works. She taught me what I needed to do to improve.
“It was nice to have a mentor who would guide me in the right direction.”
That was a distinct change from his previous history with credit. He got his first credit card at 19 and tried to pay the bills, but didn’t have enough income so there was a little gap every month. He found out what that meant a year later when he tried to get a cell phone contract.
“They turned me down,’’ he said. “They said my credit was already bad.”
He only owed $500 on his card, but he had missed a few payments and eventually stopped paying on it altogether. A little while later, he asked why his car insurance payments were so high and got the same answer: “Bad credit score is what they told me.”
Arroyo moved from a small town in California to Las Vegas where job opportunities were much better, but his luck with credit wasn’t. His applications for department store credit cards got turned down, “because my credit score was too low” and he rejected the terms for a car loan “because the interest rate was so high that I couldn’t afford the monthly payment.”
That’s when he placed the call to InCharge and enrolled in the Credit Report Education program. He was advised to clean up the unpaid bills lingering on his credit report and started working that angle immediately.
He also stopped applying for credit cards and started building a savings account. He bought a car with cash and had enough money to afford the insurance payments that go with it. He was approved for a credit card “and now I have an exceptional payment history because I pay it off every month.”
His credit score climbed to 750 in just over a year and he’s not done yet.
“I consider 750 a good score, but I want to get in the excellent category, meaning something around 800,” he said. “I want to buy a house and I don’t want lenders to shy away from me anymore when I ask for credit.
“Things are starting to look good for me because of the Credit Report Education course that really turned things around. I wish I knew at 19, what I know now, but that’s all part of growing up. I’m headed in the right direction and really happy about it.”
Learn what actions you can take to improve your score.
About The Author
Joey Johnston has more than 30 years of experience as a journalist with the Tampa Tribune and St. Petersburg Times. He has won a dozen national writing awards and his work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, Sports Illustrated and People Magazine. He started writing for InCharge Debt Solutions in 2016.