We’ve all heard that old adage “Cash is King.” In this day and time if “Cash is King”, credit “Rules the Universe.” It absolutely imperative that you improve upon your credit and build a positive score which will allow you to acquire the things you desire. A major problem for students in college is lack of financial knowledge which includes credit management and building. I’ve detailed a clear cut strategy which includes 6 ways to improve your credit while still in school. Follow these steps and I can assure your score will skyrocket in no time.
1. Know where you stand today. Before you can go forward with building your credit history, you must know where you stand with your credit at this current moment. Be sure your parents have not placed any credit freezes under your name to ensure no one else uses your credit profile, order your 3 free scores from www.annualcreditreport.com and verify what your current score is.
2. Begin opening credit lines. Now remember, unless your parents were very successful or you’re exceptionally smart, you’ll be taking out a student loan which does qualify for an active credit line. This will improve your score moderately until you actually began making payments. Nevertheless, any progress is better than no progress. Now that you’ve got your first credit line opened, start working on the second. Go ahead and get your new shiny credit card but only spend what you can afford to pay back. Expert analysts advise using no more than 25% of the available balance on your card. So, if your balance is $500, never exceed $125. This may sound difficult but I assure you, it’s not.
3. Manage your accounts closely. It’s fairly easy to forget about a credit card payment but the consequences are astronomical. One 30 day late payment can plunge your score over 50 points if you’re not careful. Be sure to set automatic reminders to alert you when your bill is due. Even better, set your credit card account to auto payment if your finances permit you to.
4. Open another credit line. Once you have 1 line under control and you feel you can handle it with ease, think about opening another. 35% of your credit score is based on history so you’ll want to create history with more than 1 account to prove you have control over your finances. If you can properly manage 2 credit lines simultaneously, your score will rise faster than you can imagine.
5. Ask for increases on your account. Ok, so you’ve managed that $500 credit card, never been late on any payments and kept the amounts below the $125 required, you’re in the driver seat now. Call the credit card company and ask for a balance increase. This increases your available credit amount and credit worthiness. Let’s say they increase your card total to $1,000. Great, but remember you can only spend $250 (25% of the total balance).
6. Avoid unnecessary inquiries against your credit profile. Sometimes, people get a bit anxious and overextend themselves credit wise. Do not apply for accounts unless you’re almost sure you’ll be approved. If your credit is horrible, applying for more accounts will almost guarantee you’ll lose a few more points. Remember, creditors see multiple inquiries as a plea for help. There must be a reason why everyone is turning you down. Keep inquires to a minimum.
There you have it; we’ve equipped you with 6 ways to improve your credit score while attending college. Follow these steps and you’ll thank us for it later.