When I was 16, an acquaintance of mine worked at the upscale jewelry shop across the hall from my first job at a toy store in the mall. She asked for my help to meet her goal that day by asking me to open a line of credit. I told her that I didn’t have a reason to buy diamonds or fancy jewelry as a high schooler, but she told me it would help me build my credit.
I wasn’t quite sure what that meant but I opened the card anyway.
The card sat unused for several years until one winter in college when I found myself with several broken ribs. My doctor told me to put myself in time out for awhile so I could heal. While I was trying to figure out what I was going to do with my time, I thought about the brand new gaming system that came out. I had to get my hands on it, but it was a big investment that I did not want to spend money on while I was out of work during my injury. I remembered my dusty old credit card and dropped a cool $800 that day on the system, games, and accessories.
Let me take a step back and explain that no one ever talked to me about credit.
Not in school or at home — I was completely in the dark about both good and bad credit. I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t find out for years after my first purchase that interest even exists.
It’s wild to me that something so life-changing is not made a priority as a life skill.
As the years went on, I found myself having a hard time getting out from under credit card debt. I was really trying — even paying far beyond the minimum payments I owed each month — but the interest was making it difficult to put a dent in my debt.
Over the years, I managed to purchase a home and a car with fair credit, but I knew that in the future I wanted larger pre-approval odds when I decide to buy again in the next year or two.
Lexington Law has over a decade of experience as a consumer advocacy law firm under their belt. They’ve helped hundreds of thousands of Americans take the necessary steps to improve their credit. Long story short, they leverage consumer rights to resolve issues with creditors, data furnishers, and credit bureaus to ensure their clients’ credit reports are fair and accurate.
Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Keisha from Lexington Law about ways to improve my credit.
By now, my cards are all paid off and the only debt I have is my car as I make monthly payments to own it.
I’d checked out my credit score on a few free websites recently and everything looked great! I had no marks against me and, overall, my credit didn’t seem like it could get much better. What I wasn’t seeing was my Experian score, which showed 3 marks against me for unpaid medical bills that I believe were added in error. Keisha discovered these and took steps to reach out to have them removed. She also suggested I refinance my vehicle in the next couple of months in order to improve my interest rate without hurting my credit.
After talking about my own personal credit journey, Keisha walked me through the Lexington Law website in real time. When you visit for yourself, be prepared to see features like:
- Report Analysis — A direct breakdown of the factors creditors use to review your credit score and report
- Money Manager — Budgeting tool that helps you set financial goals
- Credit Reports — Access to downloadable credit reports 24/7
- Credit Library — Articles written about credit, debt, budgeting at your disposal
Since 2004, Lexington Law has seen over 182 million total challenges and disputes on behalf of their clients and over 56 million negative item removals on their credit reports.
When was the first time you learned the importance of credit?