Tyler Junior College

Your guide to personal finance

10 Tips to build your credit

  1. Establish the smallest amount of unsecured credit that you can, with a BANK - not a retail store. Often in the form of a credit card, and minimum is $250 - $500 typically.
  2. Make a purchase(s) that you are confident you can pay-off in 30 days, and wait for those 30 days to pass before you pay (a candy bar, a hamburger, or a tank of gas). Then pay the balance in full, every month for at least 8 -12 months. The purchase does not need to be large, just something that can be paid off to $0 when it is due each month when the statement comes.
  3. Request an increase on that credit account after 12 months, and then continue to pay the full balance each month - you will have a score by then.
  4. Monthly payment history, and paying the balances in full is how a credit score is determined.
  5. NEVER let any payment get behind, that includes: water bill, electric bill, medical bill, apartment rent, anything that you are obligated to pay. If you cannot pay, then make an agreement with that company to pay it off, and make sure they know you are doing what you can, even if that is sending $10/month to them, for 5 years. If they agree to it, then do it. This will keep them from reporting you, in turn affecting your credit score/rating.
  6. Check your balance on a monthly, or even weekly basis to identify any unusual activity, or confirm that the charges you have made are correct.
  7. Sign up for email notification and alerts from the company, so they will alert you when payments are due, or when purchases have been made. 
  8. Place the monthly payment on Auto Debit from your checking account. This way, if you forget, or even if you are unable to pay the balance in full, the minimum payment will be taken from your bank account, on time, and this will protect your credit score.
  9. Download the application on your phone, and keep up with ID and Passwords. This way you know where you stand at all times.
  10. Contact the company or bank within 30 days of finding a error on your bill or statement. It is your responsibility to identify that there has been an error or fraud. The company will work with you if your account is compromised, if you notify them in a timely fashion.
  11. Waiting months to let them know that someone has stolen your card or used your information to make purchases, won’t get you very far - by then it is too late.

Want to try your hand again?

Come to Wisegiving

6 p.m. - 8 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 3

Apache Rooms 2 and 3, Rogers Student Center for another chance to win!