"Give Yourself Credit" Series

Contributed by Tyrice Johnson and Kyle Graham

Credit is relationship and trust is its foundation. Like trust it takes a long time to build and a second to lose. Nowadays you need credit for everything; Applying for a place, getting a car loan, and sometimes applying for a job. All of these things a modern day millennial like you may need but, may not think you have a high enough credit score to get. The truth is building credit takes a long time and has to be consistently monitored. Below are some of the top tips that have helped us and other Millenials, boost our scores that you can use to up yours.

Pro Tip #22 – Track All 3 of Your Credit Scores for Free

Credit Karma and Credit.com are sites that allow you to check all three of your credit scores (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian) online for free without having to give credit card information. Both sites are great in providing monthly updates, explaining factors that affect your credit, providing recommendations based on your score, and provide a “what-if” simulation tool to understand how a decision can impact your score.

Pro Tip #99 – Get credit while you are young….in a wise manner

We are dead serious! The most challenging factor with building credit is credit history. Most credit bureaus consider with over 10+ years of revolving credit out, to have strong credit history. Since we haven’t figured out time travel yet, there are three options to build history: 1) Keep your oldest accounts in good standing & open, 2) Get a credit card in your name early and keep in good standing, 3) Get added as an authorized user on a family member or relative with great credit and makes on-time payments. Each of these options has pros and cons, if you want to know more put it in the comments section.

Pro Tip #123 – Miss a payment….SIKE!

Payment history is one of the top factors that influence your credit score and is one of the hardest to remove. Really great marks here can dramatically increase your credit score even with few years of credit history. If you know you may be late or have to postpone a monthly payment, BE PROACTIVE!!! Contact your credit provider before your due date to see if there is a plan or a date where you can make a payment without them reporting you to the credit bureaus for making a late payment.

Pro Tip #91 – Apply for large credit limits

This tip is probably going to be the most scrutinized but, hear me out. One of the biggest liens against your credit record is going to be your student loan debt (if you don’t have this then lucky you!). This amount is viewed in contrast to your open lines of available credit. If you have higher credit limits and low credit utilization you can boost your credit score really high. I have been my own success story, when I graduated from college I was 21 I had 1 credit card with $2,000 of available credit, a 45% credit utilization mark, and 623 was my lowest score . 2 years later I now have 4 credit cards worth a total of $28,000, a 27% utilization mark and   740 is my lowest score. The key for me has been to pay more than the minimum each month and applying for cards that benefit my lifestyle (i.e. cashback bonus, travel rewards, etc.)