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charge-off, credit repair question


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I need some advice on the steps to take in order to improve my credit.

Here's my current situation:

One, charged-off, account with a debt of about $1.3K. With CITIBKSDNA

Open date: 09/1998

Last activity: 02/2000

Date reported (EQ): 09/2004

One car lease account in good standing. (Joint account)

Open date: 11/1998

Last activity: 12/2001

Reported: 01/2002

High credit: $7,215

In the last two years I did not have any other creditor accounts. So that's the only information on my credit report. It's not terrible, but I'd like to bring it up to the best possible standing.

What steps should I take?

My current plan...

1. Dispute current charge-off

2. Get a joint CC through my family

Should I get a secured card or unsecured CC or would getting the one above be enough?

Should I consider getting a store charge card?

Any other advice is appreciated. Thanks!!

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You can dispute the CO and see what happens, but, you must be aware that since there is no collection account being reported, your dispute could cause them to show up.

As to securing "new" credit, go for CC's from First Premier, Capital One, and any others that will issue a secured card to you. The TL will not report as secured. Just don't apply to too many at one time, or you will get overloaded with inquires.

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We need to know what your goals are. Are you planning on purchasing a home or a car in the near future? Is this your reason for credit repair? If so, the advice will be different.

If you have some time to put into this:

Pay off the charged off account. It has been updated recently, so it's impacting your score big time. Paying it won't help your score now, unless you pay-for-delete. But in 12 months, a paid charge off is gonna be better on your score than an unpaid one. If you have to wait those 12 months, you might as well build some additional credit while you wait. Get a secured credit card. Use it every month, for a nominal purchase, well under 30% of whatever your credit limit is, keep a VERY SMALL rolling balance and pay it on time like an anal retentive maniac. If you have 18 months, get one secured CC, wait 6 mos and get another. You will take hits for the inquiries and not get any credit for the first 6 mos of their life, then they will help you build your score. You need 2 revolving and 1 installment loan to have a good credit record. Your last positive account was in 2002. Don't borrow if you don't need to, but you gotta get something going, or you are not going to have any score at all!

If you don't have time to put into this:

You gotta get that charge off removed from your credit, period! Negotiate pay for delete. You will need to establish alternate credit, so make sure your utilities and rent are paid as agreed, listed in your name and can be proven with cancelled checks and bank statements. If you need a car, you may have to buy at a very high interest rate, and the payment may kill your DTI, but you gotta have credit accounts to demonstrate positive payment patterns.

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Also-if there is someone that can add you as an Authorized User to their exisitng account that can help add up to 20 points to your score. You want someone with an old-established account, no lates, no balances and high limits. If they do this make sure they provide the CC co with your SSN. This doesnt impact them at all and they never have to give you the card with your name on it so you never charge anything they might be stuck with.

I've done this with my 18 yo nephew and he went from zero to over 600 in 2 months. So now-when he gets out of the Marines in 4 years-he will have something to work with.

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