“When you take control of your credit, you can take control of your life.”
John is 33 years old and works in operations at Microsoft. He lives in Atlanta, and is planning on applying for mortgage loans this summer. When John realized that good credit could save him money, he got his first credit card at the start of this year.
He joined Kikoff last September to begin building his credit. In just over six months, John’s credit score jumped from the low 500s to 703. His APR dropped from 12% to 3%.
With this boost, he’s enthusiastic about the future. John plans on becoming a full-time entrepreneur–real estate, podcasts, construction companies. He also wants to keep mentoring boys in his community and giving back.
Walk us through what your credit was like before Kikoff.
I got my first credit card this year. Before, I thought credit meant just spending money that I didn’t have. I didn’t learn much from my family about it. My dad got sick when I was a teenager, and we lost everything–credit was the least of our worries.
My score was in the low 500s. I had to give a $4000 down payment for a car loan, and my APR was like 12%. I realized that quality credit changes the game astronomically–lower down payment, lower APR. I wanted to get there.
Why did you decide to join Kikoff?
Honestly, I was looking at other credit builders. I’ve even been scammed by some “quick fix” ones. Kikoff seemed legit–but most of all they gave me this sense of, we got you, you’re family. I come from a small town in Georgia. My high school graduating class was only 4 people. I needed a group that made me feel at home.
They’re not just like, “Here’s a revolving credit line.” They’re also like, “This is how it works and how it sets up your future.” Kikoff helped me establish my credit routine. When I reached out to support, they made sure I got the help I needed.
In what ways has your life changed with Kikoff?
I joined the Credit Account two months ago, and I’ve had the $12 loan since September. My credit score went from the low 500s to a 703. My APR is down from 12% to 3%. Hands down–Kikoff works.
Because of Kikoff I also started learning even more about credit. If not for them I would have never checked my credit report and saw over 80 fraud cases on it. I realized that when you take control of your credit, you can take control of your life.
“My credit score went from the low 500s to a 703. My APR is down from 12% to 3%.”
I also got an e-book about money saving tips, and because of it I started investing in stocks. Information is power, not just knowledge. And the more information I can get, the more I can pass on to others.
What’s your favorite thing about Kikoff?
My one favorite thing? Haha, that’s not fair. I would say, with Kikoff you get the sense that someone is always protecting you.
The credit journey is a headache. I had a lot of self-doubt. Will I get this to work? Can I get this fixed? Creditors don’t know what you look like, how you sound, how much you care about your score. All they care about is the number. So that was scary. With Kikoff I was like damn, they actually care about me.They taught me everything I needed to know about credit. They made me believe I could build my credit, and then I did. Sometimes you need guidance.
“With Kikoff you get the sense that someone is always protecting you.”
At 17 I didn’t have any mentors–no father figure, no big brother. So I started mentoring in college. They call me “Big Bro Pete.” Right now I’m mentoring around 20 boys in Atlanta. One is a rapper now–he has his own studio. It really does take a village sometimes, and I’m part of that village. And I feel like Kikoff mentored me.
What are your goals for the future?
This year I realized I want to settle down in Georgia. I’m planning to get my credit close to 800 and apply for mortgage loans over the summer.
Kikoff helped me realize my dream of becoming a full-time entrepreneur. My friend and I are starting a podcast. We’re going to try and feature more underground music artists and businesses around Atlanta–get the word out about people right in our backyard. I’ve also done a lot of construction work with my family, and we want to start a home improvement company.
Success is not some far off idea. That’s how I feel right now.