Being responsible with your credit card is one of the easiest ways to build excellent credit and establish good spending habits. By showing a history of paying on time and maintaining a good credit score, you’ll be able to qualify for lower interest rates on home or auto loans and lower your insurance premiums. It may even help you land a better job. Doing a few simple things can make a big difference in your credit score, which could make a big difference in your life.
A good rule is to start with a $500 limit and make small purchases. This will help build your credit without putting you in debt.
Leaving your credit cards at home when you shop will eliminate the temptation to buy things you can’t afford. It’s also important to know your credit limit, and stay well within it. “Maxing out” your credit card or carrying a balance that exceeds 70 percent of your credit limit can lower your credit score. Keeping your debt level low and making on-time payments helps make you more attractive to lenders.
Your credit information is compiled by three credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Those reports form the basis of your credit score which potential lenders use to make decisions about whether to lend to you and what interest rate to charge.
Your credit information is a record of your ability to borrow responsibly. You can request a free copy of each of your three reports once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com. Always remember to review your credit card statements for unauthorized transactions to reduce your risk of fraud. Notify the credit union and/or your card issuer if you spot any transactions that you don’t recognize and report a lost or stolen card immediately.
Remember, good credit is a valuable asset, so it pays to maintain a good credit rating.
C. Blake Burrell