Nathalee’s experience with the U.S. credit system has been frustrating. “I grew up in a Jamaican household, where you borrow from a family member and pay them back when you can. No one really tells you about using [mainstream] credit at home or in school.” Instead, Nathalee learned the hard way that “having good credit is so important to achieving your goals in the long-term.” When she was 18, Nathalee took out her first credit card but didn’t have a job. “I was spending and not paying it back. I had no sense of the value of credit.” In addition to feeling the stress of the interest she was racking up and the debt collectors who were trying to get ahold of her, Nathalee finally realized in 2017 (when she was turned down for a car loan she needed to purchase a vehicle to commute to work), “if you don’t have good credit you’re not going to get what you need in life.”

Thankfully, Nathalee found out about Working Credit through her employer, Boston Children’s Hospital, which offers the service as an employee benefit. “I knew I needed to fix my credit and do a budget but just couldn’t find the help I needed. One day I was scrolling their site to see what was available, and it stuck. It is a great benefit to have.” While she and her Working Credit counselor, Derison, have only been partnering on her credit building journey together for a couple of months, Nathalee says “his positive attitude and the support he’s given [me] has been very good. He has helped me understand what is on my credit report and what debts to attack first.” In addition to paying off debt and reducing her credit card utilization ratio, Nathalee was also able to successfully dispute a medical collection that appeared on her credit report for a doctor’s visit that she did not recognize. After requesting verification of the debt, the collection was removed from her report. With these actions, Nathalee has already increased her credit score by 24 points. Equally important, Nathalee feels a sense of hope for her future. She is sticking to her budget and is focusing on her goal of owning her own townhouse or condo.  “Working with Derison helped me see my ‘why’ for myself. It’s a work in progress…but I’m doing it.”