Better Business Bureau
Teen Smart Program
BUILDING CREDIT AFTER HIGH SCHOOL
The chances are good that the moment you enter a college campus, you will be
inundated by incentives to sign up for credit card offers complete with free t-shirts and
frisbees. If you currently have little or no credit to your name, you are not alone.
Establishing your credit record doesn't have to mean opening a credit card. There are
many other factors that comprise your credit report and help to build your credit. Here
are five ways to start building a strong credit report record:
Open a checking account through your banking institution – It is a good idea to
open a savings account as well. Keep track of every check that you write, make every
effort not to bounce any checks, and balance your account monthly. Once you have
established a checking account, you can also qualify for a debit card.
Apply for a small loan through your banking institution – If you are planning on
making a large purchase such as a car, you can establish good credit by putting a
large down payment for the purchase. Make sure that you make timely payments on
your loan - late payments will reflect negatively on your credit report.
Put all utility bills in your name – For bills like your gas and phone utility, you can
build credit by putting the bills in your name. If you have a roommate, make sure that
they pay you on time so that you don't have a negative impact on your credit report.
Apply for a secured credit card – The way a secured credit card works is that you
deposit a certain amount of cash with a creditor to ensure that the creditor will be paid
the amount of the outstanding balance, should you default on payments. Contact a
local credit union to find out more about these cards and be sure to read all of the
terms and agreements first.
Obtain a store credit card from a retailer – Store credit cards are easily obtained
and can be a source of savings for you if you know how to use them. Stores like Gap,
Sears, and Wal Mart offer discounts when you open the card and other benefits such
as special sales for cardholders. The downside is that store cards have very high
interest rates. The important thing to remember is that if you pay off your balance in
full every month, you will not have to worry about 19% and 21% interest rates.
Source: Consumer Credit Counseling Service
Greater Cleveland Better Business Bureau - 2217 East 9th Street, Suite 200 Cleveland Ohio 44115-1299
216-241-7678- www.bbb.org www.cleveland.bbb.org