Are you or someone you know just starting out and wondering how to build credit? Today, we've got some easy ways to get you started in the right direction!
Credit. It's something that we all need, but we don't necessarily know how to build it. Some people start off building their credit as young adults, thanks to their parents nudging them in the right direction. Then, there are those who don't even think about it until it comes time to buy their first car or house. It's a big “uh oh!” moment when you realize that you don't have the proper credit to be able to get a loan without a crazy high interest rate!
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Well don't worry, Freebs. We'll have you going from wondering how to build credit to building an awesome credit score in no time! So what are you waiting for? Keep on reading to learn how to achieve a high credit score!
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO BUILD CREDIT?
In a dream world, your credit would start building as soon as you start making your payments on time. Unfortunately, that's not really the way that it works! Building your credit takes time. It usually takes between three to six months for you to have enough credit activity to be reported and show up on your credit score. Just remember that slow and steady wins the race. Keep working on it and you'll see great results!
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT WAYS TO BUILD YOUR CREDIT?
There are so many different ways that you can work on building your credit. No matter what you choose, you WILL be able to reach your credit score goals!
OPEN A BANK ACCOUNT
If you don't have a bank account, you need to hurry up and get started on that! But how will a bank account help you build credit? Once you're established at the bank and build a relationship with them, it makes getting a line of credit or a credit card through them much easier.
HOW TO BUILD CREDIT WITH CREDIT CARDS
This one is a big ‘ole DUH, right? But how can you get a credit card without credit? A starter credit card, or a secured credit card, is your answer. They're not the flashiest of credit cards, but they will let you get your foot in the door. They usually have a very low credit limit, and some of them require a deposit. Just make sure that you choose one that doesn't have an annual fee and you'll be good to go.
Once you have a credit card, start paying your bill in full every month on time. When you pay in full, you don't have to pay interest. This is an easy way to build your credit since your payment history will be reported to the credit companies that determine your credit score. Late payments will show up on your credit history for years. Do yourself a favor and set up automatic payments for your credit card bill so that you don't have to worry about missing a payment!
You also want to make sure that you keep your credit utilization ratio under 30%. If your credit limit on your card is $1000, you only charge up to $300 during the billing period. Make sure that you read all about how credit cards work so that you can know all about them before deciding if getting one is right for you!
HOW FAMILY CAN HELP YOU TO BUILD CREDIT
As long as your family is in good financial standing, they can help you to build your credit. Just make sure that you really think this through before discussing it with them! Here are a few ways how they can help you.
AUTHORIZED USER ON A CREDIT CARD
Parents and close family members can add you as an authorized user on their credit card. This means that you get to use a credit card that is tied to their account. You also get the credit history from that card on your credit report. This is a great way for those who aren't old enough for their own card to still be able to build credit.
But word of caution – if you are tied to someone's account that misses a payment or has a high balance, it can affect your credit score as well. So parents who are reading this and thinking about it for your kids, keep this in mind! It's best to only do this if you have a well-established credit score. Or else you may end up hurting your kids' credit rather than helping it.
CO-SIGN ON A CREDIT CARD
If you're old enough to get a credit card but don't have the credit history to get approved, a family member can co-sign on your credit application. This allows you to be the primary cardholder and start building your credit on your own.
You do need to be careful when you do this, though. Your family will now be responsible for your debt if you're not able to make the payments. This will also show up on their credit report. So make sure that you don't do anything that will harm your relationship with your family!
CO-SIGN ON A LOAN
Everything that I just said about co-signing on a credit card can be said about a loan, too. This is a way to get a loan if you don't have enough credit to get one on your own.
However, make sure that you're financially able to make the proper payments on time so that you don't get your family in trouble! And once your credit is high enough, consider refinancing your loan so that you can take your family off of it.
PRACTICE GOOD CREDIT-BUILDING HABITS
Now that you know how to build your credit, let's work on practicing good habits. These will continue to build that credit and set you up for success!
- Don't apply for multiple credit cards or loans within 6 months of each other. When you fill out those applications, it will cause your credit score to dip a little bit temporarily. It's not a big deal when you just apply for one thing. But when you apply for multiple in a short amount of time, it can really add up and affect your credit score!
- Keep your unused credit card accounts open unless you have a very good reason to close them. Closing out a line of credit can hurt your credit score. It lowers your credit utilization rate and lessons the average account age. If you no longer want to use a credit card and don't want to be tempted by it, then shred your card! This will keep you from being able to use it, but also allows you to keep the line of credit.
- Pay ALL of your bills on time, even if they're not loans or credit card bills. If an unpaid bill ends up going to a collection agency, then that will show up on your credit score and hurt it.
BUDGET BOOT CAMP
Okay, Freebs, now you know all about how to build credit. It may take some time to get it where you want it, but it will be SO worth it when you do! If you need more help with building credit, or need help to improve your credit score, make sure that you check out Budget Boot Camp!
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