Establishing Good Credit in College

After you get that first card, how can you manage your FICO score?

Provided by Greg R. Solis, AIF®
President and CEO

Good credit may open doors. It is vital to securing a loan, a business loan, or buying a home. When you establish and maintain good credit in college, you create a financial profile for yourself that can influence lenders, landlords, and potential employers.

Unfortunately, some college students do not have good credit. In fact, Credit Karma says that the average 18-to-24-year-old has a credit score of 630. A FICO score of 730 or higher is considered good.1

What are the steps toward a good credit score? To start, you need to utilize credit. About 15% of your credit score is built on the length of your credit history, so the sooner you purchase goods and services with a credit card and pay off that debt, the sooner you create a record of credit use.1

Aim to reduce the balance to $0 every month. Does this sound like a challenge? It may not be if you just use a credit card to purchase everyday things. When you start splurging with a credit card, paying off the balance in full can become a problem.1

Pay your credit card bill on time. Roughly 35% of your credit history develops from your pattern of payments: how on time they are, how late they are. One approach to consider is scheduling automated payments from your bank account, schedule reminders, or just try to pay the bill as soon as it arrives.1

Refrain from applying for 2-3 credit cards at once. About 10% of your credit score reflects your history of credit inquiries, so if you suddenly apply for another 2-3 cards, you could hurt your score.1

Another potentially bad move is jumping from card issuer to card issuer – that is, getting a card, then closing that credit card account and opening a new one after a few months because you find another credit card with better perks. In doing this, you end up giving yourself a shorter credit history per credit card account.1

What if you have problems getting a traditional card? If you have no income, you might run into this – or, there might be other reasons that make it hard for you to qualify for one. If this is the case, consider going to the bank or credit union where you have a savings account and applying for a secured credit card. With these types of cards, you transfer some money into an account linked to the use of the card, and that amount represents your credit card limit. You can also ask to become an authorized user on a credit card held by one or both of your parents.1

You can potentially help your credit score in other ways. Consistent bill paying is a plus for your credit history. If you do become an authorized user on a parent’s credit card and they use credit responsibility, just being linked to that account history could help your credit rating. If you are living off campus, you might end up co-signing a lease so make certain you understand your and your roommates’ financial obligations. Financially negligent ones could hurt your credit rating if, for example, you are sharing utilities costs. With financially trustworthy roommates, you may avoid that kind of credit score damage. Lastly, if you move while in college, be vigilant about having your bills forwarded to you, to avoid missing payments.1

 

Greg Solis is a Registered Representative with and, securities are offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC CA Insurance License #0795867

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.
Several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.

Citations.
1 – thesimpledollar.com/how-to-build-good-credit-in-college/ [10/22/19]