July 29th, 2014
Spotlight on Success: How Scrutinizing Dan’s Credit Report Paid off
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Over the past month, we’ve introduced you to two Credit Karma members, Tommy and Leah, who took control of their credit and improved their financial well-being. Today, we’d like to introduce you to Dan, who realized he was being penalized for someone else’s financial mistakes. Keep reading to find out what he did to improve his financial health.
Credit Karma community member Dan is a successful stand-up comedian, but his early brushes with credit were anything but amusing. Like many American consumers, Dan found himself severely overextended. He had maxed out credit cards and made some payments late.
His finances were in such rough shape that he even recalls a period of time when he had to hide his car in order to prevent it from being repossessed. He avoided checking his credit score for a long time because he had a feeling it would be awful. When he finally did check his credit score, he was surprised to see it wasn’t as bad as he feared – some negative accounts were already aging off of his report.
Dan’s “aha” moment came when he learned that bad marks typically fall off your credit report after seven years. He had a renewed interest in credit and a desire to improve his own. As he likes to put it, “anyone is only seven years away from good credit.” With the help of a credit-savvy neighbor, Dan first applied for a new credit card, to start over. He then began to request increases to his credit limits. Unfortunately, he ran into a roadblock—one of his requests was denied due to unpaid medical and utility bills on his credit report. There was only one problem– those derogatory marks weren’t his!
Dan was able to use Credit Karma to learn more about the different components of his credit score, and how to successfully dispute credit report errors. Dan encourages anyone attempting the credit dispute process for the first time to write certified letters – this is more effective than calling or emailing, he found. After disputing the errors, he saw the negative marks removed from his credit report in a matter of weeks, and was happy to watch his score shoot up on Credit Karma.
Now that Dan’s credit is back in tip-top shape, he’s careful to maintain low credit card utilization rates and maximize the rewards offered through his various credit cards. Since he stays in hotels frequently for work, he can use the points he earns for personal travel, too.
Now that Dan has taken control of his credit, he has been able to shift his focus towards investing. Living in Manhattan isn’t cheap, but he’s able to get by without a car, saving him tons of money. In addition, his hectic business travel schedule helps him avoid spending too much money on unnecessary purchases. He eschews eating in restaurants frequently for cooking at home. “Not only is it cheaper, but healthier too,” Dan says.
He’s a simple guy who doesn’t need a lot of material possessions— the only things he’s recently splurged on have been a high-end laptop and a quality wristwatch. He’d like to open a comedy club someday, and knows that maintaining a pristine credit report is one piece of the puzzle. Dan has learned that a great credit score is more than just a number – it’s an opportunity to make your life easier.
Words of Wisdom
Dan recommends taking some time to look at your credit report “instead of playing video games all night”, and urges anyone looking to repair their credit to take advantage of the plethora of information that is readily available on the Internet. It’s not unusual for credit reports to contain errors, but it’s up to you to dispute inaccuracies. Remember, you’re only seven years away from having great credit.
We’re proud to say that Dan has gone from hiding from debt collectors to doling out sound financial tips in just a few short years. His experience shows that anyone can make the same progress with a bit of effort. Dan, when you open that comedy club, we’d love to hear more!
If you would like to be featured in an upcoming installment of “Spotlight on Success”, please send us an email!
Disclaimer: All information posted to this site was accurate at the time of its initial publication. Efforts have been made to keep the content up to date and accurate. However, Credit Karma does not make any guarantees about the accuracy or completeness of the information provided. For complete details of any products mentioned, visit bank or issuer website.
Kayleigh Gaddor is the Community Manager at Credit Karma. Not content to stay in one place too long, she’s most recently traveled to Hong Kong, Scandinavia and Hawaii. An avid reader and proud introvert, Kayleigh can usually be found with her head buried in her Kindle.
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