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Prepare: Financial Literacy Blog

We’re here to help our members prepare for their financial journeys. The advice and tips below are here to help you along the way.

April 7, 2017

The Credit Tango

By Rachel Siford – MSR Portland

For many, the thought of credit and how to use it can bring about a lot of anxiety and fear. Don’t be afraid! You can be the master your own credit, all you need is the right steps to get you there. Below are just a few beginner steps on how to get in the groove with your credit score:

Step 1: Get help from a choreographer.

– Seek out credit builder options if you need them! The truth is our credit scores are used for so many different transactions, from loan applications to leasing. There are countless tools and products out there to get your credit score out of the gutter, just reach out to your local credit union to find out what they offer. It’s never too late or too early to get your credit score on the right track.

Step 2: Don’t perform just one song and dance.

– For an optimum credit score, you’ll want to have more than just one type of loan reporting back to the credit bureaus. This includes loans such as car loans, credit cards, student loans, and mortgages. But don’t take out too much and stay away from specialty credit cards, such as store credit cards – they can actually have a negative impact on your credit.

Step 3: Don’t use all of your moves at once.

– Try not to use more than 50% of your available lines of credit (such as credit cards), unless you have to. Using too much or maxing out your lines of credit will lower your credit score.

Step 4: Keep in time with the music.

– The simplest way to keep a good credit score is just to make your loan payments on time. Each month your payments are reported back to the credit bureaus, so maintaining a healthy momentum of paying your bills on time will increase your score.

Step 5: Review your routine.

– Check up on your credit report, which is different than checking your credit score. A credit report is an in-depth report of your credit history. Keeping an eye on your report will ensure all of the information is correct, and any misinformation or fraud can be disputed and corrected as quickly as possible. There are 3 major credit bureaus – TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian – each of which will provide you with one free credit report per year.

Following these basic steps will get you started, but there is so much more to be learned! Don’t hesitate to reach out to your credit union with questions. As always, the representatives here at University Credit Union are ready to bust a move to help you with your credit. We’ll set the stage and get you ready to tango with your credit score!