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5 ways to build or rebuild your credit

A good credit score is a critical part of a healthy financial future. 

Having strong credit can make it easier to get a car loan, an apartment, or even some jobs. Because lenders use your credit score to help assess your reliability as a borrower, a high credit score can help you qualify for lower loan interest rates – saving you money over the course of your lifetime.

There’s no fast track to building credit or improving your current score, but you can help make the process much easier. These five steps can help:

  1. Find out your current credit score

Most adults already have a credit score that can be obtained by requesting a credit report and reviewing it carefully. You’re entitled to one free report each year and can request it at Chase Credit Journey® can also help you manage, monitor and protect your credit.

  1. Apply for a credit card

If you’re just starting to build credit, as most students are, credit cards can speed up the process if used responsibly. Remember it’s not free money. If you use a credit card to purchase something be sure to pay the balance back in full at the end of the month.

Since credit card companies report activity to credit agencies, healthy activity can be a huge help when it comes to building your credit. Student and other new-to-credit credit cards are a good option for those who are looking to build credit. Establishing a credit score and history requires having an account open for at least six months, so be patient and diligent about practicing healthy credit habits.

  1. Address debt impacting your score

It’s expected for consumers to have some debt, but significant credit card debt and missed loan payments can have a major impact on your credit score. Pay bills on time and don’t overspend – maxing out a credit card or coming close to your limit will lower your score. If you’re working to rebuild your credit, pay down debt as much as possible and catch up on past-due bills. Also be careful about searching for new lines of credit while carrying significant debt – lenders could see this as a risk and your score could drop.

  1. Practice good financial habits in other areas

Establishing a savings and checking account, renting an apartment and paying utility and other bills on time are among the activities that help show lenders you’re fiscally responsible. While these actions might not directly affect your credit score, they’re beneficial practices lenders will notice when considering your application for a car loan, mortgage or other major life goal. 

  1. Build your credit as an authorized credit card user

Opening a checking and saving account for yourself can help teach you about everything from depositing paychecks to easily paying your bills – the basic building blocks of your financial infrastructure. You can also consider asking your parents or a trusted guardian to add you as an authorized user on their credit card account to assist you in establishing your own positive credit history. Ask a trusted adult that you know consistently pays their credit card bill in full and on time, as late payments can also impact your credit report, in addition to their own. 

Building and rebuilding credit takes time and patience, but the results are worth it. A solid credit history can help you build generational wealth, reach your financial goals and establish long-term fiscal stability for you and your family. 

For more information on the basics of building credit, visit, or stop by the Chase branch on campus. 

Sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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