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Keeping Your Credit Score Under Control

Once you’ve got that student credit card for the first time, you probably also have the associated credit card bills. Paying those student credit card bills on time is one of the keys to ensuring a lifetime of good credit, but there are other ways to keep your new credit score under control.

 

Why is a Credit Score So Important?

You’re young, why is it so important to have good credit anyway? What about the student loans you have to apply for each semester? Want to rent a great apartment when you graduate? Want to buy a house some day? What about a car? Do you want one of those too? All of these things take a good credit score, and if you mess up now, you’re looking at a minimum of ten years with a problem credit score.

 

How Do I Keep A Good Credit Score?

There are lots of ways to ensure you have a strong credit score.

 

  • Never pay your bills late, ever. Pay the bill as soon as it comes in, and make at least the minimum monthly payment. The second you’re late with a student credit card payment, it’s entered into your credit report. Since nearly 40% of your actual credit score is based on your payment record, paying just a single bill late can lastingly cause you some damage. You’re looking at a loss of at least one hundred points just because you made a late payment.
  • Keep your total balance low. You want the balance on each student credit card you carry to be only 35% of the limit on that card. The higher the balance is, the higher your total debt to income ratio is. That means a lower overall score for you. If that means you choose not to consolidate all of your credit cards into one, so be it. Just keep that magic 35% figure in mind.
  • Don’t close out those old credit card accounts. Even if you have eight student credit card accounts open, closing them out can negatively affect your overall credit rating. Lenders look at the accounts you have, and if you’re closing them, that signals a problem to most lenders.
  • Along with the idea of not closing out accounts, though, is not opening accounts that you don’t need. The more accounts you have open, the more financial trouble you can get into. Lenders look at the potential damage you could cause, and based on that potential debt total, decide whether or not to make a loan to you. Just because your favorite online store has a card offer on the table doesn’t mean you need to take it.
  • Check your credit report at least twice a year. Experts estimate that nearly forty percent of people have a mistake on their credit report. It can take months to fix a mistake, so check your report regularly.

 

Keeping your credit score under control while you’re still a student is a fantastic idea that will go on to help you build a lifetime of good credit ratings.



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