In Home/ Not Unbeautiful

Credit Repair 101: How to Repair Your Credit + Free FICO Score

I needed credit repair because…

The best way to have good credit scores is to use credit wisely. I was irresponsible and I got myself in a lot of trouble. After several years of spending money like I had a never-ending supply of it, after being forced to sell my home, after realizing that I was a total failure with money, I decided to change. Change meant getting my financial house in order.   I needed to repair my credit, too.  You don’t need to pay someone to fix your credit.  That’s usually a scam.  Credit repair DIY is the way to go. This is how I did it, and how you can do it too.

Credit Repair 101

I have to be honest with you.  Right now, my credit is still only fair.  And just barely so. But fair is better than terrible.  And terrible is exactly what my credit scores were.

My father-in-law is a super cool dude, a fount of financial wisdom, and just generally awesome. He told my husband and me that we should open Fingerhut accounts as an easy way to repair our credit.  The idea of applying for an account was pretty scary because I expected to be rejected and didn’t want yet another inquiry ding on my credit report.

I had nearly given up.

I was truly desperate when I applied. It was a huge surprise that I was accepted and even more of a surprise that I was given a $500 limit. Using credit had always been a total fail for me and I was afraid to use the account.  In the past, I would start out with good intentions but always ended up maxing out every account I had, ducking debt collectors until I got my income tax refund. I did that more than once, actually. Which is one of the main reasons why my score was so terribly low. I still hate the sound of a ringing telephone.

My first Fingerhut purchase was made about a month after I opened the account, and was for under $100. I paid it off immediately.  When I checked my score a month later, it had actually gone down 3 points. I expected that opening a new credit account would lower my score, but I was still pretty disappointed.

It started to work.

My next purchase was for $126 and I set up automatic payments for $8.99 per month. Two payments later, my score went up 30 points.  That’s right. Thirty. Freaking. Points. My actual FICO score, not some other weirdly formulated score.  In case you didn’t know, the FICO score is the important one.  It’s the one that matters if you want to buy a house or a car or some other thing that normal adults generally want to buy.

A little while later, Fingerhut increased my credit limit to $900. I don’t know what they were thinking giving me THAT much credit.  I wouldn’t give me that much credit. But having more available credit and a teensy weensy balance raised my score even more.  It is now sitting pretty at 601.  While some might not find that number impressive, I am ecstatic. In only six months, without doing anything else about my credit, having and using a Fingerhut account has raised my FICO score almost 100 points so far.

My husband opened his own account a little while after I did.  His credit score was not quite as terrible as mine was, but still very poor.  Becoming a Fingerhut customer increased his credit score to 623. Just under 100 points.

Wow! What?  It works?  It does.

Probably my favorite thing about having a Fingerhut account is that they give you your FICO score for free in your account details.  It gets updated every month. You can log into your account online and look at it whenever you want to. Another bonus is that Fingerhut doesn’t have much that I actually want.  There is little risk overspending with them since the majority of their items are so unappealing to me.

There are some things about Fingerhut that suck.

  • Just about every major brand item in their catalog can be purchased less expensively elsewhere. I wouldn’t shop with them if I wasn’t using the account to improve my credit score.
  • Perhaps being an Amazon Prime customer has spoiled me, but I HATE how slow and how expensive Fingerhut’s shipping can be.
  • Their constant catalogs stuffed in my mailbox annoyed me to no end. Because we each have account, we got two of everything.  There is no opt-out on the website.  You have to actually call customer service, and that can be painful if you are like me and don’t like talking to customer service reps.

Here are the steps in TL;DR format:

  • Open a Fingerhut account online.
  • Buy something.
  • Don’t spend over 20% of your available credit.
  • Don’t freak out if your score drops a few points the first month.
  • Make minimum payments.
  • Sit back and watch your credit repair itself very quickly.
  • Check your FICO score whenever you want in your account details. It updates monthly.

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