American Consumer Credit Counseling Offers Five Tips on How to Effectively Build Credit

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As America’s credit card debt grows, it is essential for consumers to adopt safe and sustainable credit card spending and payment practices

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Building credit is vital, especially for consumers who will eventually make bigger life-altering purchases, such as a house or car.

As America’s credit card debt grows, it is essential for consumers to adopt safe and sustainable credit card spending and payment practices. Letting credit card payments roll over monthly can be detrimental, creating long-term negative impacts to a consumer’s credit score. To help, national nonprofit American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) provides consumers with five tips on how to build credit.

“Building credit is vital, especially for consumers who will eventually make bigger life-altering purchases, such as a house or car,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling. “Whichever way you choose to start building your credit, it is important to always pay your bills on time and in full. Consumers should continue these practices as they build their credit and increase their credit spending limits.”

According to ValuePenguin, the U.S. average credit score in the U.S. is 695, an all-time high. The survey also found that 14 percent of consumers don’t have a credit score.

1.    Get a secured credit card – Consumers with little to no credit history may have a difficult time qualifying for a credit card, so a secured credit card might be an option. Secured cards are usually tied to a savings account as collateral. Consumers can still build credit with a secured card by making responsible charges here and there. Further, not all secured credit cards report to the credit reporting agencies. Choose a secured card that will report.
2.    Open a credit card – Consumers that already have some credit history, possibly through student loans or car payments, should apply for a credit card. It is important that consumers take the time to do some research to ensure they are choosing the best card with the best rewards for them. Once they qualify for a credit card, consumers should make small charges on their card and pay the balance off in full every month to help build credit.
3.    Become an authorized user – Younger consumers, such as students, may have a more difficult time qualifying for their own credit card. If this is the case, they should consider becoming an authorized user on someone else’s account to build credit. In this case, both consumers are in charge of paying the balance on the joint account.
4.    Request a credit limit increase – Consumers who are consistently paying their debt in full each month may consider asking for a credit limit increase from their provider. Having a higher limit lowers the credit utilization rate and increases a consumer’s score. The closer a consumer is to their credit limit; the more lenders see them as a risk.
5.    Practice good habits – Consumers can show they are creditworthy by making all of their payments on time and in full. Building a good score can take several months of on-time payments.

About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management through credit counseling, debt management, bankruptcy counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling and financial education concerning debt solutions. To help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loan assistance, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living, and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit http://www.consumercredit.com/financial-education.aspx

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Marissa Sullivan
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