Whether you realize it or not, your credit score is an important component of your personal finances. If you have a low credit score, or no credit at all, it may be more difficult to obtain a loan or even a credit card. Knowing your credit score and developing a plan to improve your score will pay off in the future. There are several steps you can take to improve your credit score and overall financial wellness.
A credit card is a simple yet effective way to improve your credit score. It is key to make payments on time to improve rather than hurt your credit score. If a credit card isn’t the best option for you based on your spending habits, a secured credit card or cosigning on a parent’s card may be the best option for you. This creates a limit based on a percentage of money you have in an account, normally savings, tied to the card. Another option to improve credit is to have a joint account with someone that has exceptional credit. Once you’ve consistently paid your bill on time, asking for an increase on your limit is another way to improve your score. One of the most important factors is to use a credit card responsibly so your credit score is improving rather than decreasing.
If you have car payments or student loans to pay off, use this as an opportunity to improve your credit score! Student loan payments are reported to credit bureaus, so use this as an opportunity to build your score. Creditors look at repayment history when considering granting loans, so staying on top of repayment is essential. If you’re in the market for a loan, a secure loan may be an option. Secured loans are low risk and specifically designed to help raise credit. The way a secured loan works is a deposit is used as collateral, so you need to have funds to pay upfront for this type of loan.
There are several ways you can improve your credit besides getting a credit card or loan, but one of the easiest solutions is to pay your bills on time. This includes utility payments, such as power or cable. If you are renting a house or apartment, ask your landlord if they are reporting your payments to the various credit bureaus. If not, ask if they can!
It is important to not only know your credit score, but to understand how it impacts you and your purchases as well as how to increase it. Your credit score essentially shows you are responsible with your outstanding payments and would be a good candidate for other bigger purchases. While it may take time to build your score, it will pay off in the long run.
This material is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment Advice offered through GWM Advisors, a registered investment advisor. GWM Advisors and Southern Point Investment Partners are separate entities from LPL Financial