A credit score is a number that is calculated based on your credit history. This three-digit figure tells a lender how likely you are to repay your debts. A higher credit score means you have a better credit history. A lower credit score means you have a bad credit history. Most of the time, a lender will use your FICO credit score (Fair Isaac Corporation) when deciding whether to lend to you. These scores range from 300-850, poor to excellent.
If you don’t have any credit history here are a few tips to start building one
- Get a secured credit card: With a secured credit card, you make an upfront deposit, which is usually your credit limit. If you deposit $200, for example, you’ll have a credit limit of $200. After that, it works like a regular credit card. You use it to make purchases and then make on-time payments to build your credit score.
- Become an authorized user. Do you have a friend or family member that has good credit? They can add you to their credit card as an authorized user. They may or may not give you a card to use, but as long as they make payments on time, your credit will build as well.
- Apply for a store card. It might be easier for you to qualify for a store credit card, one that you are only able to use while shopping at that store. BEWARE: Most store credit cards come with high-interest rates, so be sure to pay off your balance each month.
The road to building credit may be a long one, but if you keep driving, you’ll be on your way to a healthy financial future. You can request a free copy of your credit score once a year at annualcreditreport.com.