young man paying bills
What is a Credit Score?

Lenders use credit scores to assess creditworthiness. It is based on someone’s credit history, which includes loans, credit cards, and other debt.

A good credit score can help with:

  • Qualifying for loans and other forms of credit
  • Getting lower interest rates on loans
  • Getting approved for rental apartments
  • Renting a car
  • Cell phone plans
  • Purchasing insurance

Your credit score is calculated by 3 major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. These bureaus collect information about your credit history from lenders and other creditors. 

Getting Started Building Credit

As a college student, you can work toward building your credit with your everyday financial decisions. Here are a few tips:

  1. Pay your bills on time. This is one of the most important things you can do to build credit. When you pay your bills on time, it shows lenders that you're responsible with your finances. This will help you build a good credit history and qualify for better interest rates on loans and other forms of credit.
  2. Don’t max out your credit cards. Lenders look at your credit utilization (the amount of credit you’re using within your limit) when they're deciding whether to give you a loan. A good rule of thumb is to keep your credit utilization below 30%. 
  3. Start small with credit. Use it only for what you can pay off each month. If you're new to credit, don't apply for a credit card with a high credit limit. Start with a low limit and gradually increase it as you build your credit history. 
  4. Check your credit reports regularly. Look at your credit score at least once a year to make sure nothing is amiss. Our award-winning mobile banking app gives you free and easy access to your credit score, credit report, and daily credit monitoring for potential fraud. 
  5. Apply for a starter-level credit card. Most financial institutions offer credit cards meant for first-time users. As you make your payments on time, your credit history will improve and you may be able to qualify for additional credit limits.
  6. Be patient. Good credit takes time. Don't get discouraged if you don't see results immediately. Your credit score will improve if you keep using your credit responsibly. 

A+ Tip: Affinity Plus is here to help you with your financial future, including to answer your questions and help you set up a plan to work toward a goal. Our experienced Member Advisors want you to succeed, and are ready to support your journey. Contact us today!