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I Was Irresponsible With My Credit But Now I Want to Clean It Up – Kristen


“Dear Steve,

I am 29 years old and am just now in a position where I can start cleaning up my damaged credit. I was very reckless/careless with my finances throughout my late teens and most of my 20’s. I have recently pulled my 3-in-1 credit report and my score is below 600. I want to start cleaning up my credit, but I want to know the most efficient way to go about doing this. Since I am fairly clueless about how the credit agencies report and base your scores, I don’t want to take incorrect or unnecessary steps. I do have one current auto loan that I pay installments each month for, and I pay on time. I want to get my score above 750, eventually.

Are there proper steps when attempting to clean up your credit, and should I clean up everything that is shown on my credit that I owe? I have everything from old medical bills, to old credit cards (that are no longer active), to charged off accounts, to transferred accounts. When I do start paying off some of the debt, how long will it take to see a change reflected in my credit score? I just don’t want to do it the wrong way!

Thanks for all your help,



Dear Kristen,

Wow, I’m really proud of you for now cleaning up this mess. Without a doubt, the best place to start is to satisfy any old open accounts that are in collections or delinquent. You can start paying those off using the debt snowball approach.

I would not contact them all at once, but tackle them as you can afford to pay off each account. Once the account is paid off it will close the door on that old derogatory credit report item.

At the same time, make sure you have a current major credit card, Visa or MasterCard that is reporting to all three credit bureaus. A debit card won’t do, they don’t report. It must be a credit card. If you don’t have or can’t get a credit card to use and pay off each month, get a secured card.

Start doing all of this and then check back in with me in 6 months and let’s see how high it has gone by then and what, if any, additional steps we need to take.

If you ordered your credit score with your consolidated credit report it should tell you on the report what is bringing your score down.

P.S. Be sure to read ‘The Secret of Surviving Through Difficult Economic Times. What I Learned On My Journey‘.

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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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