Hey there! If you’re a millennial or Gen Z, you might be just starting to think about building your credit.
Maybe you’ve heard people talk about how important it is to have good credit, but you’re not really sure what that means or how to go about it.
Well, I’m here to help. I’ve been building my credit for a few years now, and it’s made a big difference in my life.
With good credit, I’ve been able to get approved for loans and credit cards with low-interest rates, which has saved me a lot of money over time.
So, what exactly is credit?
In short, it’s a measure of your financial trustworthiness.
When you apply for a loan or a credit card, lenders will look at your credit score and credit history to determine how likely you are to pay back the money you borrow.
The higher your credit score, the more likely you are to be approved for loans and credit cards with favorable terms.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through the steps you need to take to start building your credit.
We’ll start by understanding what goes into your credit history and how to check your credit report.
Then, we’ll talk about how to get started with credit cards, including choosing the right card and understanding credit limits and interest rates.
Finally, I’ll share some tips for using your credit wisely and building your credit over time.
Are you ready to get started? Let’s dive into the world of credit and learn how to build your credit history!
Understanding your credit history
Your credit history is a detailed record of your borrowing and repayment behavior.
It includes information about your credit accounts, such as credit cards, loans, and mortgages, as well as any missed or late payments, bankruptcies, or collections.
Understanding your credit history is the first step toward building good credit.
Here are some tips to help you understand your credit history:
Checking your credit reportYour credit report is a summary of your credit history, including your credit score.
You can request a free copy of your credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus:
Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
Check your credit report regularly to ensure that all the information is accurate and up-to-date.
What affects your credit scoreYour credit score is a three-digit number that summarizes your creditworthiness.
It ranges from 300 to 850, with higher scores indicating better credit.
Your credit score is based on several factors, including your payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, types of credit, and recent credit inquiries.
Factors that impact your credit score
Your credit score is calculated based on several factors, including
1. Payment history – 35% of your score:
This includes your payment behavior on all your credit accounts.
Late payments, missed payments or defaulted accounts can lower your score.
My personal experience with credit and the importance of building good credit.
As a successful entrepreneur who has built a multimillion-dollar company, I know firsthand the importance of good credit.
However, it wasn’t always that way for me.
In my early 20s, I made some financial mistakes that led to missed payments on my credit cards and loans.
As a result, my credit score plummeted, and I struggled to get approved for new credit.
It wasn’t until I realized the impact that my credit history had on my financial future that I decided to take action.
I started by checking my credit report and making sure that all the information was accurate.
Then, I focused on making my payments on time and paying off my credit card balances in full each month.
Over time, my credit score improved, and I was able to qualify for better credit cards and loans with more favorable terms.
This allowed me to invest in my business and grow it into the successful enterprise it is today.
One example of how missing a payment affected me was when I was trying to purchase a new piece of equipment for my business.
I had found the perfect machine, but when I applied for a loan,
I was denied due to my poor credit history.
It was a wake-up call for me, and I realized that I needed to get my finances in order if I wanted to achieve my goals.
2. Credit utilization – 30% of your score:
This is the amount of credit you are using compared to your credit limit.
Using more than 30% of your credit limit can negatively affect your score.
Credit utilization is one of the most important factors that impact your credit score.
It refers to the amount of credit you are using compared to your credit limit.
If you have a credit card with a $5,000 limit and you have used $2,500 of that limit, your credit utilization rate is 50%.
Keeping your credit utilization rate low is crucial for maintaining a good credit score.
Ideally, you should aim to use no more than 30% of your available credit.
This means that if you have a credit card with a $5,000 limit, you should try to keep your balance below $1,500.
If you have a high credit utilization rate, it can negatively impact your credit score.
This is because lenders see high credit utilization as a sign that you may be overextended and have a higher risk of defaulting on your loans.
To improve your credit utilization rate, you can try to pay down your balances or increase your credit limit.
However, it’s important to remember that increasing your credit limit doesn’t mean you should use more credit.
It’s important to keep your spending in check and only use credit when you can pay it off in full each month.
In conclusion, credit utilization is a crucial factor that impacts your credit score.
By keeping your credit utilization rate low, you can improve your credit score and increase your chances of getting approved for loans and credit cards with better terms and lower interest rates.
3. Length of credit history – 15% of your score:
The longer you have had credit accounts in good standing, the better.
This factor considers the age of your oldest account, the average age of all your accounts, and how long it has been since you used certain accounts.
Another important factor that affects your credit score is the length of your credit history.
This factor makes up 15% of your credit score and considers how long you have had credit accounts in good standing.
It takes into account the age of your oldest account, the average age of all your accounts, and how long it has been since you used certain accounts.
For millennials and Gen Z, this can be one of the hardest parts of credit to increase when just starting out.
However, there are two options you can do to build a credit history.
By being an authorized user, you can start building a credit history without the responsibility of paying for the account.
This deposit acts as collateral, and if you don’t pay your bill, the deposit is used to cover the balance.
Using a secured credit card responsibly can help you build a credit history and eventually qualify for a traditional credit card.
In conclusion, building a credit history takes time, but it’s important to start as early as possible.
By becoming an authorized user or opening a secured credit card, you can start building a credit history and eventually qualify for loans and credit cards with better terms and lower interest rates.
4. Types of credit
A mix of credit accounts, such as credit cards, car loans, and mortgages, can positively impact your score.
As a millennial or Gen Z, it’s important to understand the different types of credit accounts that can affect your credit score.
Having a healthy mix of credit accounts can positively impact your score and improve your overall creditworthiness.
Here are the different types of credit accounts that you should be aware of:
Credit CardsCredit cards are the most common type of credit account.
They allow you to borrow money up to a certain limit and charge interest on the balance.
When used responsibly, credit cards can help you build credit and earn rewards.
Car LoansCar loans are a type of installment loan that you can use to purchase a car.
They typically have a fixed interest rate and payment amount, and you make monthly payments until the loan is paid off.
MortgagesMortgages are long-term loans used to purchase a home.
They typically have lower interest rates than other types of loans and can be paid off over a period of 15-30 years.
Personal LoansPersonal loans are unsecured loans that can be used for a variety of purposes, such as debt consolidation, home improvement, or vacation expenses.
They typically have higher interest rates than other types of loans.
Student LoansStudent loans are used to pay for education expenses, such as tuition, books, and housing.
They can be either federal or private and the interest rates can vary depending on the type of loan.
Having a mix of these different types of credit accounts can help you demonstrate to lenders that you are capable of managing different types of debt and increase your creditworthiness in the eyes of potential lenders.
5. New credit inquiries
Every time you apply for new credit, it can have a small negative impact on your score.
A lot of inquiries in a short period can signal to lenders that you are taking on too much debt.
As a millennial or Gen Z, it’s important to be mindful of the impact that new credit inquiries can have on your credit score.
While it’s natural to want to apply for new lines of credit, such as credit cards or loans, it’s essential to be strategic about when and how you do so.
Here are some tips for dealing with credit inquiries:
Don’t apply for too many credit accounts at once.Every time you apply for a new credit account, it results in a hard inquiry on your credit report.
If you have several hard inquiries within a short period, it can signal to lenders that you’re desperate for credit and may be more likely to default.
Only apply for credit accounts that you really need.Think carefully about why you want to apply for a new credit account.
Is it to consolidate debt or to take advantage of a promotional offer?
Or are you just looking for a quick way to make purchases without having to pay upfront?
Only apply for credit accounts that serve a legitimate purpose and that you’ll be able to manage responsibly.
Shop around for the best deals.If you’re looking for a new credit card or loan, do some research first to find the best deals.
Compare interest rates, fees, and other terms to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal for your financial situation.
Spread out your credit applications over time.
If you do need to apply for several credit accounts over a period, try to space them out.
Tips for building good credit
Pay on timeThe most important thing you can do to build and maintain good credit is to pay all your bills on time, every time.
Keep your credit balances lowTry to use no more than 30% of your available credit, and pay off your balances in full each month if possible.
Don’t close old accountsClosing old accounts can actually hurt your credit score by shortening your credit history. Instead, keep them open and use them occasionally to keep them active.
Monitor your credit reportCheck your credit report regularly to ensure that all the information is accurate and up-to-date. If you notice any errors, report them to the credit bureau immediately.
Be cautious about applying for new creditLimit the number of new credit applications you submit, as each one can have a small negative impact on your score.
Only apply for credit when you need it and can afford to pay it back.
By following these tips and understanding the factors that impact your credit score, you can build and maintain good credit for a strong financial future.
Don’t wait until you need credit to start paying attention to your credit score – start today!
- Payment history:
Your payment history is the most important factor in determining your credit score.
Late or missed payments will stay on your credit report for up to seven years and can have a significant impact on your credit score.
Always pay your bills on time to maintain a good payment history.
- Credit utilization:
Credit utilization is the percentage of your available credit that you are currently using.
- Choose the right card:
There are many different types of credit cards, each with its own perks and rewards.
Some cards offer cash back, while others offer travel rewards or points for specific purchases.
Choose a card that fits your lifestyle and spending habits.
- Understand credit limits:
Your credit limit is the maximum amount of money you can charge to your credit card.
Be sure to stay within your credit limit to avoid going over your budget and incurring fees or interest charges.
- Know your interest rates:
Credit card interest rates can vary widely, so be sure to read the fine print and understand the terms of your card.
Paying off your balance in full each month can help you avoid interest charges.
Using credit wisely
Using credit responsibly is key to building a strong credit history.
Here are some tips for using credit wisely:
- Pay your bills on time
Late or missed payments can have a negative impact on your credit score.
Set up automatic payments or reminders to ensure that you never miss a bill.
Keep your credit utilization low
- Aim to use no more than 30% of your available credit to maintain a good credit utilization ratio.
- Monitor your credit report
Regularly check your credit report for errors or inaccuracies.
If you spot an error, dispute it.
Credit can be a powerful tool for achieving financial goals, but it’s important to use it wisely.
By understanding the basics of credit, choosing the right credit card, and using credit responsibly, you can build a strong credit history that will serve you well in the future.
Remember to pay your bills on time, keep your credit utilization low, and monitor your credit report regularly.
With these tips, you can navigate the world of credit with confidence and achieve your financial goals.