Perhaps you may have had good credit in the past, but are now experiencing a much lower credit score due to choices or life circumstances. Or, you may be building your credit for the first time as a young adult or as a newly single adult. Whatever the reason, you can rely on your local credit union as your partner in building or reestablishing your credit.
Here are five ways a local credit union can help you get your credit rating going in the right direction if you're just starting out, or boost your credit rating at any time:
1. Credit Counseling - Give your local credit union the opportunity to work with your credit report and your budget to help you find ways to pay down and eliminate debt or unnecessary expenses. Credit counselors can show you how to pare down your debt and build up your credit score. It's one of your many free benefits as a credit union member!
2. Credit Builder Loans - A credit union can make a relatively small loan to you. You make monthly payments to the credit union until the amount of the loan is paid, plus a low-interest rate that is established at the time of the loan. When it's repaid in full, with payments made on time each month, you are provided with a good report to the credit bureaus. It's a great way to get started building or rebuilding your credit as a member.
3. Secured Credit Card - Compare low-interest rates with no annual fee to bank products, and you'll see they generally have higher interest rates and annual fees. With a secured credit card, the available balance is tied to the money you have deposited in your savings account.
4. Online budget and financial management tools - Some credit counselors can help you set up your online budgeting program and provide you with options for saving and investing, too. You can use the program on your own, whenever you're ready. You'll find options for monthly spreadsheets, and profit and loss statements for your personal and small business needs.
5. Rent payment reporting - Make sure your rent payments are tracked and reported to Experian RentBureau, the only major credit reporting agency to include on-time rental payment data on its reports. Use of timely rent payments to build and boost credit scores is relatively new, and many people don't know about it yet.
Here's the important thing to remember - to use your timely rent payment history for building or rebuilding your credit, you'll need to be proactive about it. There are a handful of services that will collect, disburse and report for you, but of course, you'll pay a small fee for the service each month. You must contact them to pay the small fee, but it can be a valuable investment in building your credit score, along with credit counseling, credit builder loans and secured credit cards from your credit union.
Planning for a good credit rating is just as important as planning for major purchases and life transitions. The importance of a good credit rating means it can't be an afterthought and it shouldn't be left to chance.
You've made the decision to become a credit union member, and that's a step in the right direction! Give Greater Texas Credit Union a call at (512) 458-2558 to take a look at your credit score and to talk about options for improving it.