First off let me say that prior to posting this I've been on this board for days reading tirelessly. This is the best board I've come across for people in my situation (just starting to realize that good credit is a necessity). I went from being very depressed about my credit after checking my credit report (after learning I had a score of 560), to feeling determined and very hopeful about repairing it. This is mostly because of what I've read here. There seems to be alot of people I could learn from, I already feel very lucky to have found this board. I hope I can contribute but there already seems to be a ton of great info here. Now on to the meat and potatoes of my situation, any advice or info you guys can give me is very much appreciated. I have only been aware of what's on my credit report and vaguely aware of what it's significance for about a week now, so I am in need of whatever info I can get. I am 26 and currently out of work but have money coming in from odd jobs all the time besides what I need to survive (in other words I have money coming in to work with). I also have about 5,000 in cash as far as savings. At this point my credit report reads as follows about 12,000 of student loan debt (Direct loan) 8,000 or so of which was in default status for a couple of months. I have contacted the collections agency in charge of my loan and agreed to go into the Student Loan default rehabilition program and made my first payment on this since graduation. The other loan is delinquent but I made arrangements to have it deffered until I find employment. I have 2 old cellphone accounts that total about a thousand dollars. The accounts are closed with a notation of delinquincy from years ago. I had another cellphone or jewelry account for 200 that was delinquent and closed for a couple years. I paid it in full a couple of days ago and asked that they close the account and send me confirmation of it. The woman I spoke to claimed that the credit report would show paid the next time they report it. I'm not sure what kind of notation this will be. Right now it reads "Seriously past due date / assigned to attorney, collection agency, or credit grantor's internal collection department" I don't have any liens or judgments. I also don't have any recent inquiries at this time as far as I can tell but then again I think it only gave me the experian credit report. My strategy so far is to pay the 1000 dollars of cellphone debt off, but I'm not in a rush because I guess it can't get any worse or gain any more interest. I also plan to make sure they delete my default status on the student loan once I do the 9 payments required to be put back in good standing. Can you guys tell me when it's neccessary to send letters to the credit agency or the creditors? Also, does this seem like a pretty solid plan or is there anything else I can do to ensure my score raises? I've heard about secured credit cards, and using them to rebuild credit. From what I gather from other places I look Orchard seems to be an OK company, what do you guys think. In the meantime I'm going to keep reading through the board and see what else I come up with. Sorry to make this so long and thanks in advance for any comments or advice! Thanks for having me!