Credit Score: Your Adult GPA
In high school and college, a grade-point average (GPA) is one of the most important numbers that will help determine your future. There is another number, however, that is even more important as an adult: your credit score.
High School students work hard to maintain a high GPA, as it will help determine scholarships they can receive and what schools they can attend. College students who maintain high GPAs enhance their résumés, making them look more attractive to employers. The same attention needs to be paid to a credit score to ensure that you can afford to live the lifestyle you desire. A high credit score shows that you are a responsible and low-risk borrower. This can result in receiving lower interest rates, which will save you money in the long-term.
How to build and maintain a high credit score
Building and maintaining a high credit score is not as complex as it may sound. It requires good spending habits, which takes organization and willpower to live within your means. Following these tips can help you earn a strong credit score:
- Create a budget. The first step to financial responsibility is to create a budget and stick to it. A budget helps you keep your finances organized and provides a way to keep track of your spending.
- Pay bills on time. Paying bills late will almost certainly harm your credit score. If you are worried that you might forget to pay certain bills each month, set up West Bank Bill Pay to ensure that nothing is forgotten.
- Maintain low credit card balances. Credit cards are useful tools for enhancing your credit score, but only if used responsibly. Paying monthly balances in full each month should be your goal. If for some reason you cannot pay the full balance in a given month, you should at least make the minimum payment.
- Watch your credit report. While wise spending habits and responsible credit card use can keep you from getting into financial trouble, no one is immune to identity theft. That’s why it is important to review your credit report annually to make sure there are no fraudulent accounts in your name. Ordering annual credit reports from www.annualcreditreport.com will help ensure that there are no mistakes in your credit history.
Tips provided by the Iowa Bankers Association