How can I establish a good credit score while I'm in college?
Answers | 4
First, be sure to establish a budget and live within your means. As soon as you start over-extending yourself, that's when the damage can begin. If you have a credit card, be sure to make your monthly payments on time. Late payments are a big ding on your report. Also, try to use only one card; don't spread out your expenses to multiple cards. This makes payment time simpler, reduces the number of credit inquiries, and allows you to build a solid history over time.
Buy a car and make all of the payments on time. Use only debt secured by collateral (car, house) never miss a payment and pay the loan off early if possible. Student loans are reported to the bureaus, so keep current on these as well. Use only major bank credit cards, and only when absolutely necessary. Never use more than 25% of your available credit on revolving accounts, and in a couple of years your score should be high 700-800. Don't ever let a bill go into collection, and don't apply for credit more than once a year. Good Luck!
Establishing credit doesn't vary because you're in college, in military, etc. You want to open a couple of revolving accounts (preferably Visa/MC as opposed to store cards), pay the bills promptly each month, keep the balances at no more than 25% of the credit limits. If you do have student loans, pay them on time. Don't ignore any bills, they can turn into charged off accounts that ding your credit for 7 years. In short, build positive credit, avoid negative credit, and you'll be fine!
If you have student loans in your name, you will indirectly be building good credit so long as you don't miss a payment out of deferment. Also, take the opportunity to open one or two of the promotional credit card offers made exclusively to college students. Lastly, make sure once you do get a credit card that you both spend and pay off responsibly.