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Are you on a mission to improve your credit score? Building a positive credit history starts with using credit cards consistently and making payments on time. When used responsibly, credit cards can be beneficial to your credit score and help get you in shape for life’s big purchases, from renting an apartment to paying for college or buying a home.
How you manage credit card debt has the potential to make or break your credit score. That’s why it’s so important to use credit cards responsibly and build positive habits with these steps:
Be an authorized user. If you’re just starting out and have no credit history, it can be difficult to get approved for a credit card. A first step may be to ask a responsible family member to add you as an authorized user to their credit card account. If your family member makes payments on time, this can help your credit score, too.
Apply for a secured card. If you have past credit issues or little to no credit history, a secured credit card provides another way to rebuild credit. A Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card is secured by money you deposit in a share account, helping you begin building a positive credit history.
Choose your credit card wisely. Avoid applying for multiple credit cards, because credit applications may require a hard inquiry on your credit that can bring down your score. Focus on finding a card the meets your needs for the long term rather than frequently opening and closing credit cards.
Pay on time. Making consistent on-time payments can raise your credit score, just as frequent late payments can bring it down. To help yourself pay on time, set up recurring payments to have your bills paid on time, every time.
Keep balances low. Carrying a high balance on your credit cards can hurt your credit score because you may be viewed as a credit risk. Keep credit balances down by paying the full balance or making payments throughout the month. Financial experts recommend keeping balances below 30% of your credit limits.
Keep old accounts open. Having a credit card that shows a long history of responsible use helps your score. If possible, don’t close old accounts and open new ones – keep using an old one so it shows up as active on your credit report.
Whether you want to establish credit, rebuild credit, or maintain a good credit score, we have a lineup of credit cards to meet your needs. Apply now for a credit card with DCU or take advantage of a balance transfer with our low APR.
Please note, membership is required to open a DCU Visa® Platinum credit card.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as legal, financial, investment or tax advice or indicate that a specific DCU product or service is right for you. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a financial professional.