How This Dad Raised His Credit Score 230 Points — in 8 Months

Tyler Milliken of McMinnville, Tenn., used Money Lion Plus to raise his credit score 230 points. In eight months, his credit score went from 380 to 610. Christie Post and Hector Velez / The Penny Hoarder
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Tyler Milliken used to make a six-figure salary as a contractor delivering RVs and motor homes across the country. He’s the first to acknowledge he spent all his money on toys and fun.

“I would just purchase whatever I wanted,” he says.

Everything changed when his daughter Aubrey was born. Milliken didn’t want to be out on the road six days a week anymore, so he quit his job to follow his passion: Law enforcement. He got a job as a corrections officer with his local sheriff’s office in Franklin County, Tennessee, where he helps oversee the jail.

It was a drastic pay cut, though. He’s earning about $35,000 a year now, so that’s been a huge adjustment.

“It’s very scary — just in the not knowing if you’re going to be able to provide,” he says.

Also, he knew his poor credit was going to be a problem if he wanted to build a future with his family.

Milliken, 31, explains matter-of-factly that he’d maxed out several credit cards and hadn’t been great about paying off his debts. So his credit score had plunged into the 300s — bad territory to be in.

“As soon I found out my wife was pregnant, I knew it was time to do something about my credit — especially because I knew I wanted to be able to provide for Aubrey and get her the things she needs in life, whether it be for school or pay for a wedding,” Milliken says.

He felt trapped. The chances of him ever buying a house or another car were “slim to none,” he said, because of his low credit score.

Looking for a solution, he came across MoneyLion, an app that helps you manage your personal finances. You connect it to your bank accounts, credit cards and other financial accounts. Based on your income and spending patterns, it offers personalized advice to help you save money, reduce your debt and improve your credit.

Milliken signed up for the premium version, MoneyLion Plus. The fee is $29 per month, but it’s free if you log onto the app every day.

MoneyLion Plus has a number of intriguing features:

  • You get access to personal loans at an interest rate of 5.99%.
  • You get a managed investment account. The app transfers $50 a month from your bank account to your MoneyLion Plus investment account.
  • Your $29-per-month membership fee, $50-per-month investment and any loan payments are split across your pay dates.
  • You get $1 cash back every day you log into the app (that’s how you get the app for free).
  • Its credit-building program diligently reports all your on-time loan payments to the credit bureaus.

Milliken has been following the app’s advice, and he’s been knocked out by the results.

“My credit score went from about 380 to 610 within about seven to eight months,” he says. “It was unbelievable.”

He says MoneyLion has taught him how to take control of his credit. Now he’s on payment plans to pay off debts he wasn’t planning to pay off before. His credit score has been rising to the point where he’s getting offers for credit lines, and he’s seeing opportunities he didn’t have with a 380 credit score.

In just over half a year, he already has more than $300 in savings in his investment account.

His goal is to save $1,000 a year with MoneyLion while getting his credit score high enough to buy a house.

All he wants is the financial stability to able to provide for his adorable daughter over the long term. He feels like he’s on his way now.

“I thought that it would take years. I feel like a big burden has been lifted off my shoulders,” he said. “The financial freedom just feels great.”

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.