The Growing Epidemic: Young Professionals Without a Credit Card #SaveTheWallets
We all know those “young professionals” – you may even be one. You know…the ones that are new to their job, the ones that are very “busy”, work is the most important in their life and they appear buttoned up. At the surface, these professionals may appear to have everything in order – but when you look closer (at their wallet) it’s nothing but cash & debit cards.
TPS is here to #SaveTheWallets!
Having a strong credit score affects many things throughout your life – getting a new apartment, buying a car and most importantly getting a loan. Sadly, many people simply don’t have credit cards even though it’s the easiest way to build a strong credit profile. Even sadder, these individuals are passing up hundreds (if not thousands) in free rewards each year. Many have a stigma with credit cards and associate them with “dings” on their credit and they will hurt them. Yes, that may be true if you aren’t responsible, but strong credit is a requirement for someone who desires a strong financial future.
- Head over to CreditKarma.com or download their app to check your credit score. This is going to give us a starting point and determine how much work we have to do. If your score is 650 or higher, then we can work with that. If it is below 650, follow the recommendations to get it higher. Note: Credit Karma does not hurt your score in any way since it is a “soft pull” and you can check your score every week for free!
- Once you have an idea if you have fair/good/excellent credit, head over to CreditCards.com to review a few cards that are a match for your credit. If this is your first card, it’s probably best to consider one of the cash back cards that are typically a little easier to be approved for.
- Once you are approved for a card follow these rules always:
- Pay your bills and pay them on time! On time payments is one of the single most important factors of your credit score and even one late payment can hurt you. TPS recommends that you set up automatic bill pay.
- Try to not use more than 30% of your credit limit. If this is your first card, it’s likely that the banks did not offer you a high amount of credit since you are considered a risk. For example, if you received a $1,000 limit, then try not to let the balance ever go over $300 throughout the month which may mean you have to make multiple payments each month to keep your balance low. Credit utilization is a huge factor of your score and it looks bad to the credit companies if you are using a large percentage of your credit limits. In this example, if you need to make a large purchase, make a payment a few days before so that you’ll actually get a negative credit balance that will cover you so you don’t exceed the magic 30% number.
- Enjoy the rewards! Regardless if you chose a cash back or points rewards card, enjoy it! You work hard on your credit so use those rewards with pride!
- Follow these rules for at least 6 months before you try to open a second card and continue to let the rewards build.