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I Made Poor Financial Decisions But Learned From It. Now I Want to Rebuild My Credit. – Mike

“Dear Steve,

Steve, Im a 29 year old father of three. In my early 20’s i made very poor financial decisions. Now I’ve decided to finally grow up and take responsibility for my credit. My rating as of now is 546 according to my report. I applied for a secured credit card with cap 1 and was approved, I also was looking into get another with Fifth third. My credit limit on both would be 300. I heard you should only use 35% of your available credit limit.

My question to you is when I used my credit should I pay it back before i receive my bill or wait? Should I just make Minimum payment or pay in full to get credit score up quicker?


Dear Mike,

First off, congratulations. You made some bad choices but you learned from them. There is no sense wasting a perfectly good mistake, I always say.

We have a special term for your current credit score, it sucks. But the good news is it can get better and together we can make that happen.

The path you are on now is good but rebuilding your credit successfully involves making sure all the old bad things you had are now paid off and that we do better moving forward.

If you have not done so already you should get a copy of your secured credit report and check what all three credit bureaus are saying about you. Once, or even at the same time, as you tackle those issues you can get up to three secured cards and use them wisely so they report to the credit bureaus that you are doing great now.

There is no need to carry a balance but you are right, keep it under 35% of your credit limit. The balances on card are reported on different days of the month so even if you did pay off a balance in full it might be on a day prior to your payment arriving.

I was looking at the latest secured card offers earlier today and you can use the secured credit cards link to see what’s new.

Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.

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About Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode
Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

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