It's been a while since I updated you all on my Credit Repair journey so this is quiet some update. A large default had dropped off (£3k) in December 2016 and so In January 2017 I was tempted after months of no credit searches to apply for the Argos Store Card. I completed the quick check offered by Argos and was told I could be accepted, completed the full application and was approved with a Credit Limit of £200. My Credit Limit on my Marbles card was increased from £300 to £1300!
In March 2017 I tried an application for the Tesco Foundation credit card, I was told I would hear shortly and was advised if successful my Credit limit would be £250, However, I received a call from their underwriters to inform me my application was declined. Whilst they were on the telephone I explained that my opinion was this was a credit building credit card and after 5 years without a single missed repayment and only a few months remaining of my defaults I would have imagined I would of stood a chance of approval, the lady in fairness just listened whilst I ranted a little but didn't share any information.
In April just 3 months from my last credit limit increase from Marbles, I received a letter telling me that my credit limit was once again increasing, this time from £1300 to £2900! (That's by far the highest Credit limit I have received in many many years)
As I had only a couple of searches by this point and hadn't missed a repayment in 5 years, I guessed the value of my defaults in total or the balance of the highest was just too high.
In April 2017 I decided to chance my luck with a Barclaycard Initial. I applied and was told I would be notified in the post. Expecting my usual Barclaycard decline letter I was shocked to receive the Credit card within just a few days, a Credit limit of £250
Fast forward a few months and we are into July 2017. Just a month away from getting Married, I logged in to check my credit report and I noticed I had been pre-approved for a loan with a company called Likely Loans. As we were getting married I felt it would be a great help so I completed a full application.
My application was referred and I was asked to send in two proof of ID which I did. An hour later I received two emails, one confirming my loan was approved, the next stating my loan had been paid out. Super, a good value £5000 loan would surely start to help me build my credit rating.
A day later and in my email I had received an offer from Marbles who are now offering personal loans to selected customers, as my Likely loans was going to be repaid over 12 months, it made sense for me to spread this loan over a longer period, just so the loan repayments were lower. Again Accepted straight away and within a few hours another personal loan paid into my bank account, this one was slightly higher (£7.5k) but it was not only a help financially but it also meant that I could prove some credit worthiness.
At this point, why not try one last time for a Tesco credit card? Boom, same message, Referred. A few days later expecting the phone call (as per the past several times) I was actually greeted by a Credit Card in the post with a Credit limit of £250
Things had finally started to improve. Knowing that by November 2017 the remaining defaults would start being removed (leaving me with just One default with a balance of Zero) I was hoping that could mean the end of the Sub Prime Credit Journey.
My defaults would fall off in the middle and at the end of November, in October I tried for an overdraft with my Bank Lloyds of whom I had previously tried several times without success. I was greeted by an approval message, things had began to improve.
Would I gamble a month before my defaults fell off for a Prime Credit Card? Yes, the excitement of the Overdraft got me excited and I popped an application in for a Bank Of Scotland Credit Card. I was approved for their Classic Credit Card (27%) APR but still lower than some of my other cards. I was also give a £2000 limit which was better than the lower Barclaycard etc.
By November I was planning to open Credit Cards Like Amex, MBNA etc, thinking I could jump right into the big known Prime lenders. Lloyds offered me a credit card which I took (A further £2900) limit and this was at the same 27% APR.
I decided to try an alternative provider, MBNA offer a Quick check but that was suggesting I wouldn't be eligible to apply. I found a company called Creation, Creation work between Sub Prime and Prime (some would say Near Prime).
I put my details in and was offered a Credit Card with an APR of 14.9% and a Credit Limit of £4000. Apple also approved my finance for an iPad.
In December I applied for an Asda Credit Card (Also Creation) as this offered Cash Back and was approved with a £3000 limit. Barclaycard had increased my limit to £500 and my overdraft limits are all much higher.
In fact, since the main defaults fell off, it's been harder to get declined than approved.
This proves that Defaults do a lot of damage, it's not until you are right at the end that things improve properly. If you have a balance above £800 on your default there are a number of companies that will just auto decline your application.
Between now and March 2019 I have one default with a zero balance showing, this appears to be stopping me applying for products like MBNA, American Express and some other Prime lenders.
I am going to use this period to take a break from applications now, I have enough credit to prove my credit worthiness, in fact, I may even be failing Affordability checks right now as I have gone from having 3 credit cards with a Credit limit total of £1100 to other £24k of available credit.
I will be closing down some of my Sub Prime Credit. Capital One my oldest Credit Card has been open the longest, (2008) so that will remain open.
My only problem closing down some of the Sub Prime lenders is the fact I feel a little loyalty to Vanquis, Capital One and Marbles as they all provided me with a card through these trying times.
That being said, Marbles also offered a personal loan, I did however get a letter increasing my APR on my Credit Card from December 2017, so in one breath they offered me a loan because I was a good customer, then increased my Credit Card APR, go figure!
I have also opened a couple of Catalogues as they do offer free gifts and Clear Score was telling me I had No Catalogue accounts (so I have four now).
January 2018 is upon us right now and I feel I have probably exceeded my credit affordability so I will plan to close down Tesco Credit Card and Barclaycard and possibly Vanquis too. I may also close down the Bank of Scotland Credit Card along with Lloyds as these are both at 27% and I am being offered credit cards closer to the 19.9% range now.
I won't allow things to get out of hand following these six years of hell. If you have a default and are looking to find products/services that can help you build/rebuild your credit rating, believe me, it takes time, basically these six years have been hard.
Most applications you make are declined and it does become embarrassing. I do feel a default over £800 has serious affect. I had £20k of defaults over 20+ accounts at one point, as these fall off it's tempting to jump in and try and start building.
The most important part of my journey was making sure that bills like my Broadband which is reported to the credit reference agency were paid each month. I have 6 years unblemished payment history now, Equifax is showing two accounts from 2012/2013 with a payment history of 3/4 then closed.
Experian and Call Credit are showing a default for £0 until March 2019.
I will update again once I have chosen which credit cards will close and of course by the Summer my Likely Loans will be paid and closed, this will free up some cash each month and hopefully improve my credit affordability.