March is National Credit Education Month. It’s the perfect time to educate yourself on the importance of managing your debt and credit score. In simple terms, your credit score indicates to lenders and credit providers if and how much financial credit you should receive.
Credit scores are measured between 300 to 850. The higher the number, the more creditworthiness you have. Credit scores can affect insurance premiums, the ability to rent an apartment or take out a loan – including student loans for young adults starting college. At the age of 18, you can start building your credit.
Scholaroo, a financial aid provider, gives 7 ways you can build credit at 18: 1
1. Become an authorized user – If you have a parent, relative or close friend with good credit history, ask to be an authorized user on the account.
2. Choose a secured credit card – If you are trying to get your own credit card, look for a card that reports its credit activity to the major credit bureaus.
3. Ask for higher limits – If you already have your own card, ask your provider to increase your credit limit.
4. Review your credit report – Stay on top of your credit score and request a credit report to make sure no errors have been made under your account.
5. Get credit for rent payments – If you rent, ask your property manager to add your rent payment history to your credit reports.
6. Add to your credit mix – if you are a cardholder, add other lines of credit to your credit mix. Consider adding your college loan, rent or even another credit card.
7. Watch your credit card balances – Keep your credit card balances low and make payments on time.
Keep in mind that managing your credit score is a lifelong journey. A good score will make it easier to get loans, insurance and as you enter the workforce, employers may check your credit score before hiring.