Build Your Credit
Credit Do's and Don'ts
85% percent of Americans are aware that they have access to a free credit report each year and 60% have checked their credit report within the past 12 months, according to a new survey released by the American Bankers Association.
"People know their credit history is important, but it's equally important for them to understand how to access and improve their histories, correct any errors and avoid falling into any traps," said Molly Wilkinson, executive director of ABA's Card Policy Council. "The more consumers know about their own credit history, the better they can position themselves for lower rates when applying for loans."
Okay, you want to fix or maintain your credit. But how?
- Make sure you're getting the best rate. Compare interest rates, credit limits, annual fees and any other fine print!
- Make sure you use your real name. We mean it, make sure you apply with your legal name or it will be very hard and confusing to get accepted!
- Create a solid financial plan. Set a budget and stick to it.
- Read the fine print. Treat the application like a contract - because it is one. Read carefully before signing
- Don't trust random inquiries that say they can "fix" your credit or "abolish" your debit. The only thing that can fix a credit score is time and productive payments.
- Even if you can't pay the full bill, pay the minimum every month. This will help build your (good) credit history and avoid late feeds.
- Credit = Investment. By using credit wisely, you can build a good credit history. This allows you to rent an apartment, get a job, purchase a car and buy a home.
So, what should you avoid?
- Don't act on impulse. Don't let anyone pressure you into a certain credit card or credit line. Make sure it's the right fit for you.
- Don't reach your credit limit. Maxing out your credit card is not smart or stable!
- Keep your open credit accounts to a minimum. You won't want multiple lines of credit building up and haunting you.
- Don't miss your due date. Even if you are just making the minimum payment, it will help your credit score and help you avoid additional late fees.
- Don't give out your credit card number unless you are paying for a product or service from a reliable source.
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