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August Challenge: Build a Positive Credit History

7 ways to build your credit historyA positive credit history can be a powerful tool. Whether you are applying for a loan, an apartment or even a job, it can impact the outcome of major financial decisions. If you have struggled with credit management in the past or just want to know your next steps, take the August Challenge and learn how to build a better credit history.

Ways to Build a Positive Credit History

No matter what we do, our credit is being tracked and reported on all the time. Credit mistakes, like unpaid consumer debt or bankruptcy, can stay with your report for years. Even if you avoid most or all forms of credit, that will reflect in your credit history as well. That’s why it’s important to start building a positive credit history as soon as possible.

Fortunately, there are several ways to build a positive credit history. While it takes time, you will benefit for years to come. Here are 7 ways to improve your credit history.

  • Pay bills consistently and on time
  • Maintain reasonable amounts of unused credit
  • Only apply for credit when needed- this keeps inquiries to a minimum
  • Do not “max out” your credit cards by using the full amount available.  It’s recommended that you only utilize around 30% of your available limit, if possible.  That’s the total combined limit of all your accounts.
  • Young adults- find a cosigner to help you open a credit card
  • Take out a small bank loan (you should already have the loan amount saved and set aside)
  • Open a secured credit card or card from a major institution

Credit cards are a great way to build a positive credit history, but they can also be challenging to control. If you struggle with credit card debt, watch this video on How to Avoid Credit Card Debt to learn what best practices are.

Now that you have taken steps in the right direction, Check your credit reports annually and correct any errors. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com to request your reports.  You can contact any of the three credit reporting bureaus to dispute any errors: 

Equifax
1-800-685-1111
Experian
1-888-397-3742
TransUnion
1-800-888-4213

August is a great time to check your credit report and select a strategy or two or three to improve your credit. So take the August Challenge and start working on better credit management today!

ABOUT AUTHOR / Michelle

Michelle is a regular contributor to Talking Cents. She has taken several financial courses on debt management and is ready to circulate what she has learned from them as well as lessons from her own life- family to DIY projects to student loan debt.

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