Credit scores are important.
This is a point that 5 On Your Side has made over the years.
From buying a car to buying a house to getting that job, your credit score plays a vital role.
It pays to have a good one.
“A bad credit can also make it difficult to rent an apartment, go to college or even get a job,” said Lisa Gill of Consumer Reports.
A low score means you are riskier for lenders and will pay more interest on loans.
If you’re looking to improve or even establish your score, 5 On Your Side’s Monica Laliberte has this tip.
An important first step is to open a bank account.
If your finances are stable, CR says to take out several small loans and make monthly payments on time.
Over time, this should improve your score.
CR also says consider applying for what is called a secured credit card, this is a card that you backed up with cash.
You can also ask a family member who has good credit to add you to their credit card.
Just be aware that if you miss or are late with a payment it can hurt both your scores.
If you have a debt in collection, pay it off as soon as possible, then pay your bills on time.
“Once you’ve paid off any debt in collection, many credit scoring systems won’t weigh them down heavily when calculating your score,” says Gill.
It is also important to carefully check your credit report.
You can get a free credit report here.
Challenge any mistakes you might find by sending a certified letter, with proof, to the Big Three credit bureaus.
They have about 30 days to respond.
Consumer Reports says you should be wary of quick credit services that offer help for a fee.
You don’t have to pay to repair your credit.
It just takes a solid financial plan and time.