Learning how to build your credit properly is vital if you want strong credit.
Starting with no credit at all or trying to repair very bad credit both rely on the same basic principles. In each scenario you need to follow the same guidelines in order to build strong credit. The big difference is that repairing your poor credit can and most likely will take much longer.
Delinquencies, collections, liens and other negative factors can take many years to fall off your credit. That is why it can take much longer.
Here are a few tips when building your credit:
- Take what you can get. – You cannot build credit if you have no credit. I know it sounds a little funny but its true. Without a credit card or line of credit you cannot start building credit. You may only qualify for a credit card with a $500 credit limit, but that is okay. Start there.
- Check out the best credit cards to build credit.
- Never miss a payment - One of the worst and the most simple negative effect on your credit is missing a payment. This not only will hurt your credit but the fine print in a credit card usually states if a payment is missed the rate can be increased. It usually increases into the 20-30% range. Always be sure you can at least pay the minimum payment. Which brings us to our next point…
- Only borrow what you already have saved in cash – This tip sounds funny but it is one you need to follow when building credit. Do not go borrowing money when you do not have money saved in the bank to pay it off. That is how you get into big time trouble with credit cards and rack up thousands of dollars that you cannot pay off. This is a terrible trap that you need to avoid.
- Keep your balance under 30% – Another huge factor that can negatively affect your credit is having high balances on your credit cards. If you have a card with a $1000 limit, always keep the balance under 30% which in this case would be $300. First of all this will insure you do not go crazy and max out your credit cards and secondly it will show the credit bureaus you are a responsible borrower who has no dependency on credit.
- When your credit improves toss the old cards. – Introductory credit cards usually have low limits and bad interest rates. As soon as you can qualify for better credit cards, cancel and toss the old cards. You can try contacting the credit card and see if they will increase your limit and drop your credit, if not pay it off and cancel it.
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Building credit can take time, but with good credit you will save thousands and thousands of dollars when you are ready to make large purchases like cars and homes.
Do it right and you will reap the rewards.