3 Steps to Building and maintaining good credit

Unless you were been born, directly or indirectly, into massive amount of financial possessions, you will likely experience the pivotal role of having good credit. More and more everyday transactions such as buying or renting a house, a car or even getting a new job demand that you have acceptable credit history.

Building and maintaining good credit helps create a solid financial foundation and eventually becomes a cornerstone of your overall financial plan. Although maintaining a credit rating may seem like an after-thought need, there are plenty of reasons to make your credit a top priority in your life.

The following steps are good starting point to help build or Credit your credit:

Apply for a credit card, not 10 credit cards:

Make some purchases each month and use no more than 10% – 20% of your credit limit. Lenders generally look down on you maxing out your limit every month. Pay your credit card bill on time.

Also, keep your first credit card – the longer you hold a credit card the more credit builds on it. Cancel the card and you lose the history and credibility you build with that creditor or lender.

One checkpoint for problem spenders: cards carrying no annual fees or those that come with low credit limits. Use this card for emergencies and, again, pay your balance monthly and spend no more than you can pay off in a month’s billing cycle.

Some debt is okay:

Good debt includes purchased items that increase your overall wealth and that no expects you to afford to pay off immediately, such as loans for tuition, a car or a home mortgage. Just make each installment payment on time to show lenders you are creditworthy.

Other types of debt walk the line between good and bad, such as costs of small-business ownership or real estate investments. These help your credit rating when they succeed and damage your rating if they fail. You must carefully judge the risk for yourself.

Carrying balances on your credit cards constitute some of the worst debt, if for no reason other than that they tack on interest rates higher, often much higher, than rates on consumer loans. When possible, pay for such expenses as gas or meals out with cash on hand or with a card only if sure you can pay the balance at month’s end.

Check Your Credit Report Often:

First, verify the information as correct – especially considering today’s prevalence of identity theft. Verify that the credit cards and loans on the report belong to you and confirm the information about your balances and payment history as accurate. Also make sure all of your creditors report on all your accounts.

You probably view credit reports the way most people fear shadowy, all-knowing powers that can wreck a life. Know that most lenders rely on reports like those from the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO), which bases scores on five areas: your payment history, current debt, types of credit used, length of credit history and new credit.

Each year you can get one free credit report from each of the national credit-reporting bureaus. Review your credit history every three months with a report from a different agency.

Building credit and credit history takes work and sometimes a little courage to hear bad news – just like anything that pays off down the road to improve your financial standing and quality of life.

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