By Paul Mulligan
The importance of having good credit cannot be overstated. Having a good credit score—at least 700 on a scale from 300 to 850—can open up a world of possibilities that might otherwise have been unavailable to you. Good credit can help you get approved for a car loan or mortgage. In some cases, employers and landlords will even use credit scores as part of their background checks. A good credit score may also help you qualify for financing and credit cards with lower interest rates.
In general, you’ll find managing your finances and improving your quality of life easier with a first-rate credit score. On the other hand, the lower your credit score drops, the harder time you’ll have qualifying for low interest rates that will help you cut into your debt.
Fortunately, you can establish a good credit score early on and keep it headed in the right direction by following these three steps.
- Apply for a secured credit card. Building credit is difficult to do without an existing payment history. One of the quickest ways to establish your ability and willingness to pay off debts in a timely manner is by using a credit card. Yet, first you have to qualify for the card, which is also contingent upon a solid history of loan repayment. In this case, a good solution is to procure a secured credit card. The lender assumes no risk with this alternative, as a sum of money equivalent to the total available balance on the card is held in an account and only released after you’ve established a track record for making regular payments.
- Pay more than the minimum on your credit card(s). Another way to prove that you’re a low-risk customer is to pay down more than the monthly minimum on any of your existing balances. You don’t need to go overboard; paying 10 extra dollars a month can have an impact.
- Leave repaid debts on your credit history. There is a difference between good and bad debt. If you’ve paid off a loan, don’t make the mistake of trying to erase the evidence that you had debt from your credit score. The fact that you incurred debt and handled it responsibly will help your score.
To learn more about the importance of credit and what you can do to improve your standing, stop by Milford Bank to speak with one of our financial advisors, or check out our Online Learning Center by clicking here.