Our bankers spend a lot of time in local schools during the spring. We talk to little kids about spending and saving money and to high school kids about topics important to them. As they’re about to venture out on their own we give them an overview of real world money topics like how to open a checking account, how to apply for a loan, and what it takes to build good credit.
We can’t go to the classrooms so we wanted to bring the credit talk to the blog! Since every consumer needs credit for a variety of reasons, this is helpful information for everyone – not just those high school students!
What is a credit score?
A credit score is numerical summary of a person’s credit worthiness. It takes into account several factors including length of credit history, outstanding debt, pursuit of new credit, types of credit in use, and payment history. The higher your score, the better your credit.
Why do I need good credit?
Your credit score will be considered when you apply for a loan or a credit card. Many employers look at your credit as do insurance companies, landlords, and even cell phone companies. In other words, your ability to get a cell phone, rent an apartment, get a credit card, insure your home, start a new job or afford a loan for a car is tied to your use of credit. In the world of borrowing money, someone with excellent credit may qualify for a lower interest rate than a customer with good or acceptable credit. Good credit can literally save a customer hundreds if not thousands of dollars in their lifetime.
How can I improve my credit?
– Pay your bills in full and on time every month.
– Use 25% or less of your available credit. In other words, if your credit
limit is $10,000, carry a no more than $2,500 of debt.
– Maintain steady employment. You will be perceived as being reliable and
better able to pay bills if you are able to hold down a steady job.
What negatively impacts my credit?
– Late or missed payments.
– Using more than 80% of your available credit.
– Liens or foreclosures.
– Periods of unemployment.
– Too many requests for new lines of credit.
How do I establish good credit and keep it that way?
– Pay your bills, on time every month.
– Open a credit card and pay it off every month, or keep a very low manageable
– Do not open too many credit cards or credit accounts at one time.
– Avoid using the mantra “I’ll pay it off later” as a crutch for going into
debt for things you cannot afford.
– When it comes to credit cards, only charge things you can afford.
– Only apply for loans where the payment is manageable using your current
– Do not stretch your budget too thin. Ask yourself, could I afford this car
loan if I lost my job or got sick and couldn’t work?
What is a good credit score?
740 – 850 Excellent Credit
680 – 740 Good Credit
620 – 680 Acceptable Credit
550 – 620 Subprime Credit
300 – 550 Poor Credit
Who tracks my credit?
Your use of credit is reported to three major credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Each time you pay a bill, apply for insurance, change jobs, or exceed your credit card limit, that information becomes part of the permanent record known as your credit report. You are advised to request a free credit report annually through www.annualreport.com. This report is a snapshot of your credit worthiness. It is important review regularly for accuracy.