Build Credit: Debunking the No Credit Equals Good Credit Myth

Credit is a tricky subject. Everyone thinks they know the right thing to do, and everyone seems to be an expert. The fact is, there are a lot of myths and untruths about the way your credit score is compiled. The biggest and first mistake most people fall for is believing that no or little credit equates to good credit. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Imagine someone you didn’t know came up to you and asked if they could borrow money from you. They promised they’d pay it back to you in a week. How would you know they were responsible or even ethical enough to return your investment? Now, let’s say a trusted friend you’ve known for years came up to you and asked you for the same favor. Your response would more than likely be quite different than the one you had towards the unknown person.
When you have little or no credit, credit bureaus view you as the stranger asking for money. They have very little information on whether you are a good investment and whether they are likely to see a return. You have to become like the trusted friend and create credit history to have a valued and trusting relationship.
This doesn’t mean go out and apply for multiple credit cards and start taking out loans. While you need to show credit history, you also don’t need to go into debt. To create a good credit score, you need at least three credit cards with balances below 30% of your credit limit and an installment loan.
Now, you may be thinking that credit isn’t really a big of deal and you don’t want to have credit cards and loans because they are a hassle. This way of thinking can hurt you financially more than you know. Your credit score is used to determine a number of things including, believe it or not, your automobile insurance and even your job worthiness.
When it comes to purchasing a house, your interest rate is determined by your credit score. This means you could be paying thousands more for your home because of bad credit decisions. Think about this:
On a $300,000, 30-year fixed rate mortgage, a person with poor credit (below 620) would pay $589 more a month than a borrower with a 720 credit score. That’s $589 a month! Imagine what you could do with an extra $7,068 a year. You could buy a new car, save for your child’s college tuition or with wise investments, double, triple, or even quadruple the money!
The bottom line is, your credit score can either help or hurt you financially. Learning the ins and outs of how to maintain a high credit score will give you a great return on your investment of time and research. It may even help you live the life you dream without overextending yourself.