Even Staff

2016-02-10

9 Ways To Increase Your Credit Score After College

So you’re not one of the lucky ones whose parents got them a credit­ building credit card when you were 16 for “emergencies,” and now your credit sucks or is virtually nonexistent. Apartments, car leases, and full ­size mattress financing is on the horizon and few things in your past indicate you’re a reliable human capable of making on ­time payments. With that in mind, here are eight ways to raise your credit score after you graduate.

 

1. Practice preventative care.

 

Listen, there’s no reason for you to buy a $500 quadcopter right now if you’re credit limit is only $1000, even if you intend to pay it back in full at the end of the month. What matters is the percentage of how much credit you have available versus how much you use each month. Keep it under 30 percent ­­ your score will stay healthy and on the rise.

 

2. Use one or two cards for all purchases.

 

If you signed up for eleven credit cards that were mailed to your mom’s for you right out of high school because it seemed like free money, get rid of ‘em. Even if your balances are small and you make regular payments, you could be punished. Pay them off and then close them rather than moving balances around.

 

3. Get a secured credit card.

 

It’s possible to get a secured credit card ­­ a card that requires a small cash deposit ($300­ $500 minimum) upfront, which then becomes your limit ­­ with little or no credit to begin with. Make small regular purchases and pay it off in full every time. As you use it, they might reward you and up the limit without making you pay. Just be aware ­­ interest rates are high on these suckers. Here’s a list of secured credit card issuers.

 

4. Get a gas and/or retail store card.

 

It’s way easy to get an Old Navy credit card ­­ buy some flip flops and the cashier will be begging you to open one. Just pay it off in full and on time.

 

5. Refinance your student loans.

 

Take out personal loans from companies like SoFi and Upstart, and use them to make student loan payments. They offer loans at lower interest rates than traditional lenders. Which brings us to...

 

6. Pay your student loans.

 

Not paying your student loans is a garbage idea no matter what the Times says. Your student loans directly influence your credit score and paying them on time will help increase it.

 

7. Keep good old debt on your record.

 

Pay off a mattress/car/quadcopter loan on time? Don’t try to get it off your record just because it’s over ­­reliability is key here. And conversely, if you messed something up in the past, don’t worry so much! It’ll likely be gone in seven years anyway!

 

8. Ask your parents to add you to their credit card account.

 

They don't have to give you a card, but you’ll get credited when they pay the balance. Just make sure you have trustworthy parents.

 

9. Pay things on time.

C’mon, guys.

 

Disclaimer: The material provided on this site is not intended to provide legal, investment, or financial advice or to indicate the suitability of any Even Financial product or service to your unique circumstances. For specific advice about your unique circumstances, you may wish to consult a qualified professional. Any information or statistical data sourced by Even Financial through hyperlinks, from third-party websites, are provided for informational purposes only. While Even Financial finds these sources to be accurate, it does not endorse or guarantee any third-party content

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