I need advice on building my credit. I have been paying attention to my credit for the past year, opened 2 secured credit cards in Feb (first progress $ 1000 cl, opensky $ 400 cl) and then got in financial trouble where I was unable to pay anything until July. both cards ended up going over 90 days late, and first progress up to $ 1168 and opensky $ 474. once I realized my accounts were closed, I paid enough for them to be reopened. i noticed that opensky changed from 90 day to 60 day to then 30 day late after paying regularly, and paying to below 20% util on both, while first progress stayed at 90 day late (which is understandable, I was completely unable to do anything at that time).
I was able to remove everything except the 2 current cards with equifax which started at 563, went down around 476 in Aug 2015, and by Oct 2015 is back to 573.
my transunion deleted almost everything except my 2 current cards, an inaccurate $ 120 ambulance collection, and $ 1865 Verizon collection which falls off 3/2018. my tu score went from 563 to 487 around August 2015 and back up to 563 as of Oct 2015.
my experian is the hardest one. the score was 568, went down to 410 in July, and up to 516 Oct 2015. it is reporting my 2 current cards, the Verizon collection to fall off 3/2018, the ambulance $ 120, capital one charge off $ 1264 falling off 4/2016 and T-Mobile $ 200 which falls off 4/2016.
I’m looking to boost my score as much as possible because I really need a car before the winter in new england and I’m looking for around $ 12-15k car with $ 3-5k down. I’m willing to go up on the car price if I were to get approved with reasonable terms. I’ve never had a car before. I also want to rebuild my credit because in general I’m tired of being turned down for credit, and in the next 3 years I hope to purchase my own home.
one of my questions is, has anyone had any luck with goodwill letters to first progress and/or opensky?
another question, should I open another secured card to boost my score? I’ve become credit obsessed since July and I know I wouldnt fall under again because I’ve been saving my money and have a good emergency fund.
if I raise my credit limit with first progress and opensky, will it show that my high balance is below the new limit? I don’t really want to raise them because I hope that I can close them and get my deposit back in the next year, but if it will help my score I’ll do it.
I’ve considered a secured personal loan, but on my chexsystems account I have a serious derogatory mark until 5/2019 so I can’t get a bank account and am afraid to try to explain my situation to a credit union. would this be feasible to boost my score or should I stick with secured credit cards?
will it matter if I pay the cards completely off vs 1-9% util vs 10-19% util?
what is the appropriate score to have for an auto loan? I’d rather wait an extra month or two for a boost in my score but if it won’t help that much then I would prefer not to wait because I’m disabled and it’s hard to get around with public transportation and depending on others.
also just to give a little background, for the past few months (since june) I’ve been renting cars weekly either privately or through a rental company, and have religiously been paying a minimum of $ 300/ week for a rental, up to 600/week including deposits, so I can definitely afford monthly car payments and insurance. it’s just difficult getting approved.
any help is super appreciated!
tl;Dr had bad credit, opened secured cards and disputed /deleted items, went bad on new cards 30/90 days, brought back current. score shot down then up to pretty much same area I started, one low 500s, 2 mid/high 500s. need to improve ASAP before winter, need help.