You have influence on what your credit history looks like. Your credit history, or profile, is a record of your credit accounts and timeliness of your payments. The better your credit history, the better your chances of receiving additional credit in the future, and receiving this credit at the best possible interest rates.
To build a solid credit history, follow these steps:
- Establish a budget and stick to it!
- Be responsible. Make your credit card and student loan payments on time.
- Pay more than the minimum monthly amount.
- Do not apply for more than one credit card.
- Be aware of your credit limit and spend only what you can afford to pay back; buy it only if you really need it.
- Notify creditors when you move or change your name.
- Have a backup plan. Make sure credit purchases don't exceed your savings.
- If you find yourself having problems making payments, contact each creditor to see if they can help. Then call the National Foundation for Consumer Credit at 800.388.2227 to locate a free or low-cost credit counseling agency near you. Take care of problems when they happen.
- Be sure to investigate credit card offers thoroughly. Do not fall for scams that sound too good to be true. If you think you are a victim of a scam, visit the Better Business Bureau Web site (http://www.bbb.org/), the Federal Trade Commission Web site (http://www.ftc.gov/) or call the FTC hotline at 800.372.8347.