Good Credit is Key to Solid Financial Future
Citizens State Bank and the ICBA are offering tips to establish and maintain good credit. (And a reminder - it's easier to build a credit score than to repair a bad one.)
Having a good credit history is key to any financial plan. Credit scores take into consideration years of past behavior, so it’s important to establish a history of responsible credit practices and build your score by maintaining good habits now—it will be worth it.
The following tips will help you build and maintain good credit:
- If you are just beginning to establish your credit history, open a checking account and keep careful track of your balance.
- Use debit and credit cards for convenience and safety, but not to overspend. Missed or late payments damage your credit and hurt your credit score.
- A good mix of credit (such as a revolving credit line and an installment loan) also boosts your credit score and further shows that you can manage different types of credit.
- Demonstrate stability in the three to six months before a major purchase. Avoid opening or closing accounts or moving large amounts of money around.
- Build an emergency fund equal to at least six months of living expenses. If the unexpected happens, you will still be able to pay fixed expenses instead of falling behind.
- Alter your credit focus as you approach lifecycle stages. As you near retirement, for example, start paying down major purchases (such as a mortgage).
- Monitor your credit regularly so you can correct any errors and detect any potential signs of identity theft. Order a copy of your credit report annually from www.annualcreditreport.com.
“Establishing good spending and saving habits, and sticking with them, is critical when times are tough and can go a long way toward helping you achieve your financial goals,” said ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey. “Your local community bank can serve as a great resource to help get you started on the road to establishing good credit, which serves as the foundation for a more secure financial future.”
The Independent Community Bankers of America® creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. With more than 52,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute 99 percent of all banks, employ more than 760,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in five U.S. counties. Holding more than $4.9 trillion in assets, $3.9 trillion in deposits, and $3.4 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community, community banks channel local deposits into the Main Streets and neighborhoods they serve, spurring job creation, fostering innovation and fueling their customers’ dreams in communities throughout America. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org.