Hi all you cool cats and kittens! My name is fuck Carole Baskin she killed her husband and feed him to the tigers. Just kidding! I’ve binged the entire season of Tiger King, what about you? Let me know in the comments below.
On a serious note, my name is Nneka, and I run the blog here at High Black Girl. My mission is to help young (black) women learn more about financial literally and to look cute while doing it! I’m tired of generational curses so I’m sharing my journey and knowledge in hopes that it can help you along your journey as well 🙂
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic I was able to increase my credit score by 15 points. Now you may be asking, what exactly is a credit score? To put it as simply as possible a credit score is honestly an adult “report card”.
Yeah, that periodic report from your teachers that went to your parents? Yup, that’s exactly it.
Except as an adult the ones reporting on you are not your teachers but instead your lending companies; think credit cards, student loans, car loans, rent/mortgages, cell phone bills, medical bills, etc.
Periodically (every 14 days or so) your lenders report to the credit bureaus whether you paid your bill on time this month. There are other factors that go into your credit score, but for the sake of brevity, we’re going to focus on this aspect AKA “Your On-Time Payments.” Your On-Time Payments has a high impact on your credit score and is exactly how I was able to increase my credit score by 15 points.
On-time payments can be tricky – especially if you don’t make a regular income. My first few jobs while in high school and in college I worked as an hourly sales associate and a waitress. In both positions it was hard to estimate my income. As a sales associate I was at the mercy of my managers to how many hours I could get in a week and as a waitress I was at the mercy of my diners to make a decent wage ($3.25/hour isn’t paying anyone’s bills!).
While in these positions I opted out of credit cards (and any non-cash spending tbh) simply due to the fact I couldn’t depend on an income in order to pay them off on time and in full every month. Cash is king when your income is uncertain!
Fast forward now and I am blessed enough to work a salary job with regular hours and regular pay – plus bonuses! Thank you, Jesus! Stay in college ladies.
But that doesn’t exempt me from unexpected expenses. Durning one of my annual check ups at my doctor’s office my blood was sent out to a laboratory.
I promise, I’m getting to how I increased my credit score, just bare with me!
Now little did I know that there was a $50 charge for this blood work by the lab billed directly to me. After sending me bills in the mail for 6+ months the laboratory sent my ass to collections – this put a ding in my credit score.
I mean honestly it’s 2020 who’s opening physical mail now adays? This is THE FUTURE!
By checking with my credit monitoring apps I was able to verify that I was in fact in collections, that XYZ agency held my collections debt, and with the information provided I was able to look up the agency and contact the them directly.
If you don’t currently use a credit monitoring app Turbo Tax’s Mint has a great free service, plus many credit cards offer credit monitoring free of charge (AMEX, Chase, Barclay’s, Discover). If you are still unsure which collection agency is holding your debt try calling the original company you owe and ask them who their collections agency is – a representative will be able to tell you exactly who holds your debt and provide their contact information.
NEVER and I mean NEVER pay anyone without verifying first. We work to hard for our money just to be giving it away! Also NEVER pay a collection agency IN FULL I fucked up here but don’t be like me! Learn from my mistakes! Collection agencies buy debt for pennies on the dollar (it’s how they make money) so if you’re in collections you should be able to settle your debt for less than what you owe. You just have to be prepare to pay the negotiated price in full.
By paying my $50 bill in collections I was able to increase my credit score by +15 points bringing me to 758 credit score! So go ahead, make that call and see how much you can a) negotiate the debt down and b) increase that credit score.
For more financial advice feel free to follow me on instagram @HighBlackGirl