4 Things a Student Can Do to Improve Credit Scores

In today's world, more and more students want to know how to improve their credit scores. Taking the necessary steps now can give you a head start when "real life" begins after school. Take these tips into consideration when trying to bolster your FICO score.

1. Start Your Credit

Many people overlook the fact that you need credit to get more credit. When you are new on the market, borrowers are reluctant to be the first one to give you credit. The older you get without any credit history, the more nervous creditors become. A good way to get started is to get a student credit card. They usually have favorable interest rates and programs to help you along the way. This is a good way to prove to creditors that you know how to handle money. Regardless of the temptation, do not use it to finance everyday life. If you cannot afford it, do not put it on your card. 

2. Get Your Name on the Bills

College is a great time to live with roommates and experience life to the fullest. However, many students make the mistake of not putting themselves on the lease. They will just sublet a room unofficially from a friend. Do your best to get your name on everything that you use from the water bill to the apartment lease. This will allow creditors to see that you can handle an account when you are ready to go it alone.

3. Pay Your Bills on Time

Now that you have your name on everything, be sure and pay the bills on time. This is the single greatest way to improve credit scores. In calculating your credit rating, over a third of the score comes from timely bill payments. If you always pay the bill late, the credit bureaus will know it. Your credit rating will suffer as a result and it will be difficult to build back up again. 

4. Do Not Overextend

Many young people have the tendency to overdo it when it comes to credit. They are experiencing life for the first time after living the majority of their lives with their parents. If they are not used to dealing with money, they may be tempted to charge things that they do not need to credit cards. If you find yourself in this situation, do everything that you can to prevent yourself from becoming overextended. The last thing you want to do is get in over your head before you even get out of college. Many college students are leaving college with a few maxed out credit cards to go along with their diploma. This adds unnecessary stress to the start of your professional life and can contribute to your failure overall. Live within your means even if it means you have to stay home on Saturday night a few times. In the long run it will be well worth the sacrifice. 



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