Credit is a financial tool that's hard to live without in modern society, yet difficult to obtain after experiencing a bankruptcy, or for those with bad or no credit history. Learn how to get credit and afford what you want.
Step 1: Identify the type of credit needed Identify the type of credit you need based on how you plan to use it. Options include a credit card, a line of credit, or a secured or unsecured installment loan.
Step 2: Know the sources Know the sources for different types of credit. Commercial banks, credit unions, consumer finance companies, or even pawnbrokers, offer credit opportunities. Match the source to your need.
TIP: Credit unions loan to members and tend to offer interest rates lower than at banks.
Step 3: Obtain your free credit report Obtain your free credit report from one of the three major reporting companies, and learn your credit score to assess your credit worthiness.
Step 4: Improve your credit score Improve your credit score by paying bills on time, maintaining a checking and savings account, paying off debt, or piggybacking on a spouse's good credit.
TIP: First-timers are able to begin a credit history when they open a checking and savings account.
Step 5: Prove you are a good risk Prove you are a good risk by showing stability as an employee, home owner, or renter, and the ability to comply with a creditor's standards.
Step 6: Apply for credit Apply for credit at the appropriate institution. If successful in getting a credit card or loan, protect it, and use the privilege wisely to better your financial plan.
FACT: The Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination against applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, or age.