Credit Management

How to protect, use and establish credit

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It's easy to qualify for credit if you already have a good credit history, but what if you have never used credit before? That is a common problem for people who recently arrived in the United States, just started working, who work in the home, always pay in cash, and for those who do not have assets or accounts in their own names.

The first step is to establish a credit history. Here are a few tips to help you establish credit; understand your credit score and how to maintain a good credit history. Don't forget our VISA Classic Credit Card which is a great way to start building your credit today.

Understanding Credit Scoring

A credit score is based on information about you and your credit experiences, such as your bill paying history, the number and type of account you have, late payments made, collection actions and outstanding debt. Creditors will compare this information to the credit performance of consumers with similar profiles.

Points are awarded for each factor that helps predict who is most likely to repay a debt. The total number of points in your Credit Score, helps predict how creditworthy you are.

Tips for Improving Your Credit Score

  • Fix errors on your credit report
  • Close account you no longer use
  • Pay all bills on time
  • Reduce debt levels
  • Never "max out" any credit cards, Never bounce checks

Tips for Protecting Your Credit

Always safeguard your credit, debit and ATM cards, as well as your account and personal identification number (PIN). Carry only the cards you expect to use, and keep the others in a safe place. And when you discard documents with account numbers on them, be certain that the numbers can't be read- shred if possible.

Order Free Credit Report(s) Online

Due to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act), you are able to order one free credit report per year from each of the 3 major consumer credit reporting companies -- Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. To receive your free credit reports online, visit the official website:

www.annualcreditreport.com

To order a copy of your credit report, contact one of the three reporting companies:

Equifax
800-685-1111
www.equifax.com
Experian
888-397-3742
www.experian.com
TransUnion
800-888-4213
www.transunion.com


Expect to pay a nominal fee when requesting a credit report, unless your loan was denied due to information in your report. Colorado residents may obtain one free credit report each year. Visit our Member Resource Center and click on the "Credit" tab to learn how to request your free annual credit report.

Questions about credit agencies can be directed to:

Federal Trade Commission
www.ftc.gov - 877-FTC-HELP
National Foundation for Consumer Credit
www.nfcc.org - 800-388-2227