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Best way to up credit score?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I just checked my fico score and it was 527!!!

Basically, I have a lot of old medical collections. Probably about 20. (don't get on me, my dd has epilepsy and last year my dh left us, so I was alone with three kids one with serious problems and couldn't work). To make matters worse, my mom had me as an authorized user on a cc I never used and has been making late payments on it.

I don't have any cc, just a student loan which was defaulted for a while but is now consolidated.

Is there a way to get the collections off my report? If I pay them will it make my score better? Or is it better to just let them fall off?

Any info is appreciated.
post #2 of 12
The key thing to making a score go up is to pay things by the due date...every single time...on every single thing.
post #3 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3_opihi View Post
To make matters worse, my mom had me as an authorized user on a cc I never used and has been making late payments on it.

Is there a way to get the collections off my report? If I pay them will it make my score better? Or is it better to just let them fall off?

Can you get your name off your Mom's cc? Her credit issues are hurting you, but the collections are hurting the most.

In terms of the collections, yes pay them off and your score will recover.

Fall off - How long have they been there? I'm not trying to be snide but wondering if you feel any obiligation to pay the bills for services rendered.
(Some people don't feel bad about not paying medical bills so thus the question. Personally, I would pay them if I actually incured the charges, but that's me and I don't know your history and am not in your shoes so can only speak for myself.)

Credit scores do recover, mine used to be in the high 500's myself just a few years ago and now it's back up between 720 - 755 depending on which score one pulls. I had a lot of late payments and high levels of debt compared to my income level. It took several years of throwing every single extra dollar at my debt to climb out of that hole and my credit score has recovered.

Another question to consider is, do you need/ want to use credit again in the future? That answer alone might help you make some choices.

good luck
post #4 of 12
Go to www.creditboards.com/forums and get help there. There is a section on medical collections where the upside is that once you pay it, there is no reason for it to be on your credit report. (Think HIPAA)
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3_opihi View Post
Is there a way to get the collections off my report? If I pay them will it make my score better? Or is it better to just let them fall off?
It takes seven years for items to fall off your credit report. Can you wait that long, or will you need to use credit before then?
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denvergirlie View Post
I'm not trying to be snide but wondering if you feel any obiligation to pay the bills for services rendered.
(Some people don't feel bad about not paying medical bills so thus the question. Personally, I would pay them if I actually incured the charges, but that's me....
And me. Thank you for raising this issue, Denvergirlie. Unpaid debts aren't just relevant to the debtor; they result in higher charges (like higher medical bills) for the rest of us when providers raise fees to cover bad-debt costs, and of course unpaid debts result in less income for the people the debtor owes (those medical providers could be divorced single parents or other needy folk too!).

Sometimes I see threads in this forum talking about letting homes go into foreclosure, filing for bankruptcy, or otherwise walking away from debt and I think these posters might be forgetting the bigger context of how their unpaid debts hurt EVERYONE. Luckily that's a minority opinion and most MDCers are diligent about paying anything they owe, no matter how difficult, but it helps to remember in a personal financial crunch that debts always be paid. You OWE that money... it's not just a credit score. (Not lecturing you personally, OP - unless by chance you were planning on ignoring your debts once they "fall off" your credit report. But sounds like you're planning on paying. )
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Ok...well, forget it. I didn't come on here to get chewed out about my unpaid medical bills.

Yes, of course I want to pay them. I work for a brain surgeon. Believe me, I know how bad it is when people do not pay their medical bills. That is not the point of my question. Unfortunately, when you are caring for someone who is seriously ill and aren't able to work, you'd be shocked at how fast things are piling up. Especially when you are the sole provider of your family. We see this all the time in our practice, and luckily, have much more compassion for our patients than some of the people in this thread.

Anyway, so yes, at that point in time I had to choose between buying food or paying off a 2000 dollar surgery co pay. Sorry, but food won. And if you can't understand that, then that's just really sad.

And this is just way off base:
Quote:
Another question to consider is, do you need/ want to use credit again in the future? That answer alone might help you make some choices.


Hello? I don't have any credit cards. So how could I get back on track to "using them more responisibly?"
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3_opihi View Post
Ok...well, forget it. I didn't come on here to get chewed out about my unpaid medical bills.
I'm sorry if you feel attacked as I mentioned it was not a snide comment, just a question. I do not blame you at all of putting food on the table and certainly understand first hand how bills can pile up quick and real quick. No guilt from me, but if you felt I was attacking please accept my apologies.
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3_opihi View Post
And this is just way off base:
Another question to consider is, do you need/ want to use credit again in the future? That answer alone might help you make some choices.

Hello? I don't have any credit cards. So how could I get back on track to "using them more responisibly?"
My question was if you need/ want to use credit again in the future and I see nothing with it being off base as it's legit question for you to ponder. I certainly didn't state or even reference that you might not be responsible with credit & debt. Relax.
I didn't mention credit cards at all, in fact wasn't even considering it when I posed the question. I was thinking more along the lines of a future car loan, college loan, mortage or the like. If you don't plan on using credit again in the future, then a credit score really makes little difference in one's daily life. Sure the arguement about car insurance rates and future employement can be played, but it's not a make or break thing in most cases.
So if you don't ever plan on using credit again, car loan, mortage, etc, then you really need not worry about a credit score.

I thought I was being helpful to help you make a choice about paying the old medical bills or letting them fall off your report. But once again if you don't plan on using credit in the future, then that credit score is really not important. However, you stated that you wanted advice on uping your credit score, you can up your credit score by paying those old bills.

Sorry if you felt attacked.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you for clarifying, Denvergirlie. What's done is done. I know it sucks, I'm not here to be lectured. I know it's bad and I'm coming here to ask for help! This has nothing to do with cc bills or a house I couldn't afford. My dd had brain damage, was seriously ill, my dh left us in the middle of a crisis and my kids and there was no way I could work at the time! It sucked! But we came through and are all the more awesomer for it. (and dd is doing great!)

I would like to pay off everything, but it seems like there are conflicting reports - if you pay, it doesn't matter because the collection account is still there on your report and just says "paid"

(I will pay anyway and am paying slowly. I just payed off everything that wasn't delinquent, so now I am caught up and can get to the "bad" stuff. )

But all the credit boards say that if you pay, it will essentially be deleted. I just sent dispute letters to all the things that my ex dh was supposed to pay, per the divorce aggreement. I don't know if it will make a difference.

As for credit, I would like to be able to buy a car and a house someday, again, hopefully. I don't ever use credit cards or believe in them. I had them when I was younger, but paid them off and closed the accounts about 4 years ago. Up until my dd got sick, I had good credit. It sucks how fast it can go down the tubes and then it's like climbing mount everest to get it back up again.

So...if I do pay everything, and just pay everything on time for another year (there is nothing from mid 07 on the report, when we got medicaid for my dd) will the score get higher, even if the collections are still there with a "paid" on them? Or does it truly make no difference.
post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3_opihi View Post
I would like to pay off everything, but it seems like there are conflicting reports - if you pay, it doesn't matter because the collection account is still there on your report and just says "paid"

(I will pay anyway and am paying slowly. I just payed off everything that wasn't delinquent, so now I am caught up and can get to the "bad" stuff. )
SO GLAD to hear that you'll be paying everything, regardless of whether it affects your credit score or not (and I have no idea whether it does). Again, I was NOT automatically assuming you're one of those people who wouldn't pay your debts - that's who I was directing my comment to.
post #11 of 12
Each case will vary, but my credit score 4 years ago was in the toliet, seriously mid 500's.

I scrimped and saved and slashed my budget, sold stuff off and took odd jobs and sent all that money towards my $30K in debt.

Now I am debt free and my credit score is back in the low to mid 700's.
I only have had one debt go to collections over the years, so my word shouldn't be gospel, but paying off an old debt will always help.

The scariest thing about hoping and waiting the debt to fall off after 7 years is that the one collection agency can sell that debt to another agency and then the 7 years will restart again, of course this doesn't always happen, but it can happen. Thus I advocate for paying the bill if you do want to use credit again in the future.

One of the other PP's mentioned creditboards forum, that would be a good place to go and read and ask questions.

Good luck
post #12 of 12
The status of the debt on your credit report depends on the type of debt. Since it is medical collections, you can have it removed because having it on your credit account divulges information about your health AND it no longer has a business purpose.

Like I said, go to creditboards.com forums and look at the medical collections subforum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Denvergirlie View Post
The scariest thing about hoping and waiting the debt to fall off after 7 years is that the one collection agency can sell that debt to another agency and then the 7 years will restart again, of course this doesn't always happen, but it can happen. Thus I advocate for paying the bill if you do want to use credit again in the future.
They cannot legally restart the clock unless the debtor makes payment arrangements or somehow reages it. You can have them removed and the debt buyer stop contacting you if you contact them within 30 days and ask them to validate the debt.

I am all for paying your debts but collection agencies have to work within the law.
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