•  
  •  
 

Improving Your Credit

The best time to establish good credit is when you have no credit. Before you sign up for your first credit card or loan, pledge to do the following:

  • If you have no credit history, open a low cost checking or savings account and make regular deposits.
  • Keep a minimal number of credit cards.
  • Keep credit card balances low, under 50% of your credit limit per card.
  • Do not apply for a new credit card because you are at the maximum limit on your current card(s).
  • Pay your bills on time.
  • Make at least the minimum payment required and pay down the balance when you can.
  • Know your debt to income ratio and keep it to 20% or less of your pay after taxes.

Do you want to improve you credit score? It's possible, but it takes time. There are several ways you can help increase your credit score:

  • Have a budget and stick to it.
  • Reduce or eliminate unnecessary installment payments, like cable and new cars, that may keep you from living off of your take home pay.
  • Make minimum payments on time.
  • Understand that bankruptcy and foreclosure will stay on your credit record for up to 7 to 10 years.
  • Get help from a reputable, free, independent credit counselor.
  • Fix errors on your credit report.

For a look at your credit report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com.