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Welcome clickers from Train Wreck Central

aka IAmFacingForeclosure. I've decided to do this post backwards. The meat is up front. Introductory/explanatory stuff is at the end. Since you're here, read these "Intro to Credit Score Gaming" articles: Part I - Payment History, Part II - Balance to Limit Ratio, Part III - Length of Credit History, Part IV - Types of Credit Used, Part V - Recent Inquiries and Recent Credit. That's the core info. Other highly relevant posts: FICO vs. FAKO (I got "FAKO" from a commenter on IAFF. Thanks, whoever you are!). What to do if you're young and trying to establish credit. Get your credit reports (not scores) yearly from the government, but be aware of how the "annual" part works. I also discuss recent inquiries in more depth.

If you've read some or all of the above posts and want to find out your FICO score and maybe track it over time, please use this link to (the best place to get your real FICO scores) which can also be found at the top and sidebar of every page. Oh, and there are coupon codes out there for Just use Google and you'll find them.

(Now the introductory/explanatory stuff -- I originally had this part at the beginning, but it started to run pretty long...) I have been keeping up with Mr. Serin's situation for quite a while now, and I had to temper my disgust at Casey (especially with this recent Australia bit) with my greed and desire to make some more money from this blog. I have mostly stayed out of the comments at IAFF, because you guys can be awfully intimidating.... but I've read a lot of the stuff on Exurban Nation (Duane posts especially), Nigel Swaby's blog(s), Caseypedia, etc. Anyway, back to my motivation in becoming a "Supporterz" (although if I had to, I'd say I'm a Haterz(TM)). That referral link that you see at the top of the page is actually making surprisingly good money, even with the minimal amount of traffic that I'm already getting. I'd like to see if I can increase that, at least temporarily (who knows how long IAFF will be up).

Anyway, this blog has been fairly dormant for the past couple of months, for several reasons. One, my wrists are hurting, and I already have to spend most of my day at the computer for work (not a W-2 -- ha!). But really the main reason is that I'm pretty much out of stuff to say about FICO scores and how to improve them. I'm not one of those guys who can just retread the same old topics over and over when nothing has really changed. There's only so much to say about FICO scores, but I'm constantly surprised at how little people know. There are many misconceptions out there. I probably still have some misconceptions myself! I'm just one guy, and I don't know everything. So I may have gotten some stuff wrong, but I've been tracking my FICO score monthly for upwards of 3 years now, so I probably have a better grasp on it than most. If you disagree with anything that I've written about FICO scoring (or just have better information) then please leave a comment correcting me.

So, that's that. I hope you at least learn something while you're here, even if you don't get your FICO score at MyFICO (mercifully unlinked for your mental health).


Shawn said...

How funny - I decide to check back to your site for the first time in months and you decide to post for your first time in months on the same day.

I wanted to ask you a question. Yesterday I called to convert my Chase Platinum to a Chase Freedom and he offered to upgraded it from a platinum account to a world account with better travel insurance, identity theft protection and other fringe benefits. I may have made a mistake though -- he said I would be trading the cards for each other but the world card would have a new account number (not upgrading to world would not be a new acct. number, but I would still have a freedom card).

After I agreed and hung up the phone, I thought.. did I effectively close one account and open up a new one? Darn, I think I just reduced average length of tiem that I've held each card.

- Shawn

Gaming the Credit System said...


Good question, but unfortunately it's one that I'm not sure I can answer, since it will depend on the policies of the issuing bank. I know that I have changed CC numbers before without having that change reflected on my credit report. People do that all the time (lost cards, expired cards, etc.) and the report is just updated with the new account number. E.g., I know for a fact that my Discover Card number has changed at least once since I first got it in 2000, but my latest credit report shows just one Discover Card account being open since 2000.

So the answer is "not necessarily," and maybe even "not likely," but I don't really know for sure. I would be interested to know the results, the next time you check your report.


Shawn said...

Cool, that is encouraging news! I did ask about my credit report and it said it had nothing to do with it. Hopefully that means it has nothing to do with altering my credit history, either. I will try to let you know next time I look at my credit report. I should write the agencies and ask for my 2nd report of the year due to being a Maryland resident.

Anonymous said...

It was extremely interesting for me to read that blog. Thank you for it. I like such themes and anything that is connected to this matter. BTW, why don't you change design :).

Robert Platt Bell said...

You have an interesting blog, but after 30 years of chasing the credit genie, I figured out that the entire credit lifestyle is a bad idea - and moreover, you don't need it.

You are not your credit score. You are not your debts. And you don't "need" to borrow money except for maybe your first home or maybe student loans (and even then).

Debt is corrosive to the soul, and it causes you to pay nearly double for most purchases. If you can save money - OWN MONEY - you don't need to borrow, and as a result you get the best deals.

My credit scrore is well over 800. How did I "game" it? Paid off my mortgage, my credit cards, all my debts (haven't had a car loan in more than a decade - pay cash!).

In order to borrow money, as they say, you have to prove you don't need it.

Sounds impossible to do? Well, I could have done it, at your age, if I made the decision to live within my means, instead of borrowing for status items I thought I deserved.

I could have done this, and had a million dollars more in my retirement and investment accounts.

I could have, but I chose not to. I chose to buy new cars and run up credit card debt.

Eventually, it all has to be paid off. You cannot retire with debt. And yet, many people don't figure this out until they goi bankrupt.

Get off the debt bandwagon. Stop obsessing about your credit-worthiness. When you can pay with cash (a debit card) it doesn't matter what your credit score is.

And it is a nicer feeling than a wallet full of plantinum cards. BTDT!

You are young. Learn from my mistakes. Get off the debt bandwagon, and you can be in a position to retire by the time you are 40. It does mean living with less, and yes, your neghbors will laugh at you for being "poor" and driving an older car and not having cable.

But it is they, not you, who are the poor people, as they own absolutely nothing in their lives - it is all financed on a teetering tower of debt!

Good Luck!