Author: JPMorgan Chase Staff Published: 1/24/2024 Washington Informer News
Establishing credit is one of the most important keys to achieving financial health and creating generational wealth.
A good credit score shows you have a track record of borrowing money responsibly and is important to landlords, mortgage lenders, financial institutions, and more. The higher your credit score, the lower your interest rates will be on credit cards and loans, helping you save money over time.
Building a credit history from scratch can feel challenging since you need credit to build credit. If you don’t have credit, you’re less likely to be approved for loans and credit cards, limiting your ability to make major purchases that create financial stability for yourself and your family.
How can you build credit without having credit?
First, what does it mean to build credit?
All consumers have a three-digit score between 300 and 850. You want your score to be as high as possible, as lenders look at credit scores to make loan and credit decisions.
A credit score consists of your payment history, available credit, total balances, the mix of credit type, length of credit history, and the frequency and amount of new credit you’re applying for.
If you don’t have a credit history or you’re rebuilding your credit, your credit score will likely be on the lower end. Here are a few simple steps, including some you may already be doing, that can help start the year off on the right foot and improve your score:
- Report rent or bill payments and pay on time. Ask a service provider, such as a landlord, to report payment activity to the credit bureaus. Also, remember to pay bills on time. Paying your utility bills, rent, credit cards and loans on time can demonstrate fiscal responsibility to lenders.
- Apply for a store or gas card. Retailers and businesses often approve applicants with little credit history for a card. Store cards usually carry a higher interest rate, but payments still become part of your credit profile. Remember to try to pay off the balance each month to avoid raking up interest.
- Open a bank account and consider a new-to-credit card: Although checking and savings accounts don’t factor into your credit score, lenders can review them to see how fiscally responsible you are. And in the case of Chase Freedom Rise, which is designed for new-to-credit customers, having a Chase checking account increases your likelihood for approval.
- Become an authorized user or joint account holder. Ask a trusted family member or friend to be added to their credit card. You’ll get an extra card with your name on it, and activity from that card will be reflected on your credit report over time. Be sure this person has a good history of on-time payments and low credit utilization – if they have bad credit habits, it will reflect on your credit, too.
- Find a co-signer. Apply for credit jointly with someone who already has an established credit history. Remember, the co-signer is putting their credit on the line for you, so keep up with your payments and don’t overspend.
These options can help you demonstrate your creditworthiness, and you may start seeing your score rise sooner than you might expect.
Resolve to build credit in 2024
It’s never too late to build — or rebuild — your credit. As you make your resolutions for the new year, put credit building near the top of your list. Not only will good credit help you have a happy new year in 2024, you’ll see your hard work pay off for many new years to come.