Build and Boost Your Credit (While Paying Down Debt)
How to Build Credit
Your life stage and financial goals can guide you to a better credit score:
Pay student loan bills on time. Student loans add to your credit mix, the length of your credit history, and payment history.
Millennials & Gen X
Fix credit report errors. You may incur bad marks or errors on your credit report over time. Your score may increase after filing a dispute to eliminate erroneous information.
Baby Boomers & Retirees
Maintain credit cards and limit new debts. Keep your credit cards active, but don’t carry a balance. Pay attention to your credit limit. Avoid co-signing new loans with family members.
Learn more about how to build credit at any age.
Protect Yourself from Fraud
These methods will help safeguard your identity and credit score:
- Contactless payment: Methods like Apple Pay hide credit card numbers when you make a purchase.
- Regular account review: Review billing statements frequently to look for fraudulent charges.
- Dedicated credit cards: Use one card for online purchases for easier account tracking.
- Safeguarding personal information: Don't give your financial information over the phone unless you initiate the call.
- Avoid Hacking: Only use home Wi-Fi or password-protected networks for online purchases.
Read more in our guide to fighting credit card fraud.
Don’t have a credit card? You still have credit-building options.
- Personal loans
- Secured credit cards
- Lending circles
- Report utility payments
Learn more about how to build credit without a credit card.
Pay down debt
Too much debt can drag down your credit score.
Paying down debt can take time, but it is possible. Finding the right strategy can help.
3 Repayment Strategies:
- Start small: Gain momentum by paying down the smallest debt first while making minimum payments on all other balances. Then start again with the next smallest debt.
- Limit long-term interest: Pay down the debt with the highest interest rate and make minimum payments on all other balances. Once the highest-interest debt is gone, start the process again.
- Consolidate debt: Use a low-interest personal loan to pay off higher-interest balances and replace them with a single monthly payment.
Learn more about strategies to climb your way out of debt.
What if those strategies aren’t enough? Can you negotiate debt?
Maybe. Determining factors:
- Your current credit score
- Your account status
- Your lender’s settlement terms
Learn more about negotiating credit card debt.
- Tips for building credit
- Dealing with debt
- Learn to read your credit card statement
- Debt repayment worksheets
Looking for additional credit boosting tips? Find them on the OppU blog.