4 Steps for Building Credit With a Credit Card

Now comes the easy part. You got a credit card for the first time. No matter what kind of card you have, here's what you need to do to build a good credit history and score:

Put your credit card to use. To build a payment history, you have to buy things on credit and pay the bill. If your card has a sign-up bonus, don't try to rack up rewards. Use your card only for things you need to buy anyway. Right now, the goal is to build credit and get into good credit habits.

Keep track of your money. Unless you do this, you probably won't stick to your budget. You need to keep track of how much you're spending and where.

Keep your credit usage rate low. 30% of your FICO score is based on how much credit you have. To improve your credit score, keep your credit utilization ratio (the amount of credit you've used compared to the amount you have available) below 10%.

On time, pay your bills. Your payment history makes up 35% of your FICO score. Yes, it's a big deal. So pay off your credit card in full and on time. Be aware that it's not true that you have to have a balance on your credit card to build a good credit score. If you pay on time, you'll get a good score without having to pay interest. If you don't pay off your balance, you'll get into debt, which can hurt your credit score.

How long does it take to get a good credit score?

If you do these four easy things for six months, you will get a FICO score. If your card issuer gives you a free credit score, you can see it go up every month. On the Internet, you can also find free educational scores.

For this to work, the credit bureaus need to know what you do with your card. And if it's not clear whether the issuer reports your payment history to all three credit bureaus, call the lender to find out before you apply for a specific card.

Be patient and persistent. Over time, using your credit card in a responsible way will help you build a great credit history and score.

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