Part 2 – Here are 6 ways to help and improve your credit score:  

 Click here for Part 1

1.  Piggyback on someone else’s good credit

The fastest way to establish a credit history can be to “borrow” another’s record, either by being added to a credit card as an “authorized” or joint user or by getting someone to co-sign a loan for you.  Keep in mind though it is a two edged sword.  You can gain good credit, however if either of you default, both parties suffer. (The co-signer has basically promised to make good on this account, so any delinquencies will show up on her credit report as well.)

 

Keep in mind that even if you get added to someone’s credit card, you may not be able to piggyback on his or her credit. Some credit issuers won’t report authorized users to the credit bureaus, particularly if the user is not married to the original card holder. If the point is to give you a credit history, the person who’s adding you as an authorized user should call the issuer and ask how (or if) your status as a user will be reported.

 

2.  Apply for a secured credit card

If you can’t get a regular credit card, apply for the secured version. These require you to deposit money with a lender and your credit limit is usually equal to the deposit.

 

You’ll want to screen your card issuer carefully because there are a lot of bad guys in this particular niche of the credit world. Some charge outrageous application or annual fees and really high interest rates.

 

The first place you should look is your credit union if you belong to one. You can also check at www.bankrate.com for a list of secured credit card issuers.  You may also call my office for a list of cards I recommend.  Ideally, the card you pick would:

  • Have no application fee and a low annual fee
  • Convert to a regular, unsecured credit card after 12 to 18 months of on-time payments
  • Be reported to all three credit bureaus.

If the issuer doesn’t report to the credit bureaus, the card won’t help build your credit history.

 

3.  Get a finance company card

Gas companies and department stores usually use finance companies, rather than major banks, to handle their credit transactions. These cards don’t do as much for your credit score as a bank card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, etc.), but they’re usually easier to get.

 

Again, don’t go overboard. One or two of these cards is enough. If you get many more, you may find that later in your life these accounts could prevent you from getting the highest possible credit score. That’s not a reason to avoid them completely, because right now they’ll do you some good. Just don’t apply for half a dozen.

 

4.  Get an installment loan

To get the best credit score, you need a mix of different credit types including revolving accounts (credit cards, lines of credit) and installment accounts (auto loans, personal loans, mortgages).

 

Once you’ve used plastic responsibly for a year or so, consider applying for a small installment loan from your credit union or bank. Keeping the duration short — no more than a year or two — will help you build credit while limiting the amount of interest you pay.

 

5.  Apply for credit while you’re a college student

There’s no easier time to get a card than while you’re a college student.  Lenders are willing to take risks with you that they won’t once you graduate, probably because they know that your parents’ willingness to bail you out will end once you get your diploma.

 

Be careful, though. Look for a card with a low or nonexistent annual fee and low interest rates. For now, just get one: Opening a slew of credit accounts in a short period of time can make you look like a risky customer.

 

6.  Use revolving accounts lightly but regularly

For a credit score to be generated, you have to have had credit for at least six months, with at least one of your accounts updated in the past six months.

Using your cards regularly should ensure that your report is updated regularly. It also will keep the lender interested in you as a customer. If you get a credit card and never use it, the issuer could cancel the account. Just remember the credit tips mentioned earlier:

  • Don’t charge more than 30% of the card’s limit.
  • Don’t charge more than you can pay off in a month. Keep in mind, you don’t have to pay interest on a credit card to get a good credit score, and it’s a smart financial habit to pay off your credit cards in full each month.
  • Make sure you pay the bill, and all your other bills, on time.

 

 

Resources

9 fast fixes for your credit scores – 1 – debt management – MSN Money

What steps should I take to start my credit score?

10 Ways to Improve Your Credit Score | Entrepreneur.com

Seven Steps to Stellar Credit

Five Credit Score Secrets of the Young and FICO-Savvy | Fox 

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