Establishing a credit score isn’t as hard as you think. The toughest part about building your credit as a student is getting your first credit card. Once you receive your first credit card, you’ve already accomplished the hardest feat. When you’re finally ready to start using that credit card, here are a few tips you can follow on building your credit wisely.
Get your credit report
Every year, you should get a copy of your credit report. The government recently passed a bill a few years back stating that you’re able to see your credit report for free. The reason you should check your credit report each you is so that you can monitor and make sure there are no suspicious activity on your account. Companies such as Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union all will give you access to your report.
Get a checking and savings account
When you apply for a credit card, you will notice that there’s a little area that asks for you to check if you have either a checking, savings account or both. It’s highly suggested that you sign up for both. They are on this application for a reason. Lenders often times see this as a sign of stability. They feel you’re a lot more responsible as an adult with these types of accounts.
Pay your bills
The biggest part of your credit score regardless of what anyone says is to pay your bill off in time. If you start to make your payments late, this will hurt your credit score drastically. It’s important that you pay it off in time, even if you can only pay the minimum. Any payment on time is better than no payment at all.
Don’t max the cards
When you’re starting out with credit cards, you’re tempted to spend, spend, and spend. It’s important that you’re responsible with your credit cards. You want to make sure that you’re not using up all of your credit that you have accessible. If you’re using up more than 60-70% of your credit, lenders will be hesitant to loan to you since you’re already using a majority of your credit.
Studies have shown that the best time to apply for a credit card is when you’re a college student. Lenders are willing to take risks, especially if you’re new to the ball game. A lot of the times, lenders will hope that the student’s parents will bail them out if they find themselves in financial trouble. The most important thing here is that you look for a low APR when applying for your first card.
Don’t just apply for a credit card and sit on it. When you purchase a car, get a car loan. When you go to the department store, apply for a department store credit card. When lenders look at your report, they don’t want to see just one credit card. They want to see cards from all over. Now remember, don’t apply for too many cards, you’ll usually want to stay under 10-15 accounts.
These are just some very simple steps you can follow to improve and jump starts your credit score. There are so many factors to the complicated credit score game. It’s up to you to pay your bill off in time and to be very responsible. If you can pay your bill off and you use your credit card wisely, your credit score will be high in no time.