Having a good credit score can be immensely helpful later on in your life. Lenders use credit scores to decide how much borrowers pay for mortgages, credit cards, and auto loans. Insurers utilize credit scores to determine how much to charge policyholders for coverage. Landlords and employers have also rejected tenants and job applicants for low scores. Though these scenarios might not concern you right now, it’s good to keep them in mind because they will affect you sooner or later. Many financial advisers emphasize the importance of building your credit early. So, college is a great time to start. Here are 5 ways you can improve your credit score as a student:
1. Become an authorized user on a parent’s account.
Becoming an authorized user is a popular choice for college students aiming to build good credit. Presuming your parents have good credit habits and good credit scores, ask them to add you as an authorized user to one of their cards. This arrangement lets you build a credit history and gives you access to a credit card. In addition, your parents can keep an eye on your spending habits and let you know if you go off track. If you want more information about becoming an authorized user, you can read this article.
2. Open up your own credit card.
If you can provide proof of income and you are over the age of 21, you can consider applying for your own credit card. Since this will be your first card, look for a card with no annual fee and a low interest rate. It’s also important to remember that when you receive your credit card, the responsibility for handling the card wisely and repaying your debts falls on your shoulders.
3. Shop around for your perfect credit card.
Once you’re able to qualify for a regular card on your own, it’s important to remember that not all credit cards are the same. Before applying for any credit card, make sure it has the most benefits. For example, lower interest rates, no annual fees, reasonable credit limits, and clear billing policies. You can check out our blog post about the best student credit cards.
4. Use the credit card for occasional, small purchases.
And keep your spending in check. Use the credit card for small, tytical purchases. For example, groceries or your Netflix subscription. If you have money from scholarships or student loans, you could use the credit card to pay for bigger expenses, such as textbooks. Always remember the tradeoff: Paying off your card promptly helps your credit score. But missing payments or carrying a hefty balance will hurt it.
5. Automate your payments.
As a college student, you have a lot on your plate — exams, papers, labs, part-time jobs. So, keeping track of your credit can get a bit unwieldy. Forgetting to make payments can do some damage to your credit score. You can foolproof your payments by asking your credit card issuer to withdraw the payment amount on the due date every month. If you opt for this payment method, however, make sure you have enough money in your checking account to cover your credit card payment. If you need more information about credit scores, credit cards, debt, feel free to check out BetterCreditBlog.org.
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