In college, you focus so much of your energy on learning skills that you’ll need for your future career. But you don’t always get a chance to learn basic life skills, especially in regards to finances.
One financial area that many college students are helpless in is their credit score. Students are unequipped to establish their credit and are unaware of the options available to help them increase their scores.
Here are some of the top tips to help you establish and build your credit score while you’re in school.
Federal Student Loans
People often view loans in a negative light, especially student loans. It can feel burdensome to continue making payments long after graduating. But if you take a federal student loan, you can actually use it to your advantage while building your credit score!
Federal student loans don’t require a credit check, so you don’t have to worry about establishing credit or knocking down your score when you agree to take a loan. If you consistently pay your student loan bills on time, these payments can help you form a credit history that will boost your score.
Get a Credit Card
If you sign up for a credit card, you want to be careful about your spending. One way to do this is by budgeting your credit card spending with money that you already have. You may even want to designate small recurring expenses, such as a subscription, to this card so that you can pay your credit card bill in full.
A good credit card option for people with little to no credit is a secured credit card. With this card, your credit limit is the same as the amount of money that you deposit. You don’t have to be worried about potentially overspending, and you can start working to build your credit history.
Use Your Parent’s Account
One way that you can start establishing your own credit is by becoming a user on your parent’s account. Of course, this requires the consent of the parent and close monitoring of your spending so that you don’t ruin their credit score.
This method of building credit is called “piggybacking,” since you can “piggyback” from a pre-established score to qualify for things such as rent, personal loans, etc. It gives you a leg up as you prepare for a new stage of your life and work toward living independently.