Credit cards are often the first step for a consumer to build their credit score. When you make regular payments with a small credit limit, lenders will be more willing to lend you larger amounts. Before you jump out and open an account, make sure you don’t have too many credit lines open or otherwise hurt your credit.
Pick A Good Card
Credit card companies offer several different types of credit cards for consumers. You can find student programs that require no co-signer or income. This is a great offer for your first card, but these cards also have higher rates.
You can also find cards with cash back rewards or other incentives. The trade-off are higher rates though. However, you can find no frill cards with low interest rates if you plan to carry a balance. Whichever credit card program you choose, make sure it fits with your financial goals.
When you are building your credit score, you want to start small. Open one account and use it at least once a month to make a purchase. This can be a regular purchase that you have cash to pay for. The point is to use your credit and then repay it. Every time you make a payment, it will show up on your credit report.
Lenders will also look at how often you make payments. So using your card once a year and paying off the entire balance that month won’t do you much good. Your credit report covers three years’ worth of payment history, and lenders want to see your payment pattern.
Don’t max out your card either. Only use a small portion of your credit to show lenders that you don’t get yourself into financial binds.
Maintain Your Credit
Regular payments are only one part of your credit score. You also want to keep your credit in good order. If you have dozens of accounts open, close the ones you don’t use. The less open credit you have, the more you will be eligible for, a bonus when buying a home or car.
Also be sure to take advantage of your annual free credit report. Look over it to make sure that your credit history is correct. If you find any discrepancies, resolve them with your lender.