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Building Credit for a College Student

April 2nd, 2014

 

 

“I’m 20 years old, I don’t even need to worry about credit yet.”

 

While in college, it’s easy not to think about what’s going to happen after you get your diploma. Beyond not living with mom and dad after graduation, and that you need to get a real job, after college plans are nil. But there are many more details that need to be considered for life after college other than not living at home, like your credit.

 

Your credit reflects your record for paying back loans—like if you’ve only been paying the minimum balance, your skipped payments and your debts.

 

Landlords, car salesmen and even companies looking to hire you can ask for your credit report and make decisions based on it.

 

So how can a broke college student, already in debt and looking for loans, keep their head above water and have a credit score over 650?  Don’t worry—you don’t need a lot of money to have good credit, just practice being smart with your money.

 

Helpful tips:

 

1) Pay your bills on time. If your bills are too high to pay off every single time, set up an automatic minimum payment, so you’re paying something every month.

 

2) Don’t rely on just one card. Having the credit card in your wallet is nice, but paying with your debit card instead, and bringing high credit card balances down is better.

 

3) Be careful of how many loans and credit cards you are taking out and applying for.

 

4) Keep track of what your score is. Between free credit reports online, and myFICO.com, you can learn just what your credit is.

 

5) If you’re brand new to credit, talk it over with parents or business professors, and do your own research about opening up your own credit card.  If you spend $20 a month, and pay that off on time, you’re already practicing building good credit that can help out upon graduation.

 

Editor’s Note: Information from CNN was used in this article.