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8 tips for people who want to build or rebuild credit

If you’re just starting out in life, you might not have any credit history. If you’ve been through tough times, you might have bad or average credit. Wherever your credit is today, here are tips that might help you on the road to building or rebuilding your credit.

1. check your credit reports and credit score

Knowing where your credit stands today will help you see what needs work for the future. You can get free weekly online credit reports through December 2023 at AnnualCreditReport.com.1 After that, you can get one free credit report every year from each of the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.

2. pay your bills on time

Every time you make a payment on time, it can improve your credit history. Lenders look at how reliably you pay your bills as a predictor of how you might pay future bills. That includes your rent and cell phone service too. Set up automatic payments or use calendar reminders on your phone if you need help remembering due dates.2

3. keep balances low on revolving credit accounts or pay them off

Have you heard of the credit utilization rate? It’s the amount of revolving credit you’re using now divided by the total amount of revolving credit you have.3 When you’re working on improving your credit, try to keep your rate lower than 30%. This shows you’re not maxing out your credit card and revolving accounts.

4. review your unused credit cards

If you have old credit cards that you don’t use, keep them open unless they’re costing you too much in annual fees. Your credit history and scores benefit from having a long credit history and higher total credit limit. Closing an account that’s in good standing won’t drop off your credit report immediately, but the effects on your credit utilization rate are immediate. 2,4

5. manage your money with a budget

When you use a budget, you’re deciding in advance how you’ll spend your money every month. That can help you pay bills on time (tip 2), plus pay down debt and keep your revolving credit balances low (tip 3). It can also help you save for unexpected expenses that you might normally put on a credit card.5 Don’t have a budget? Get started at http://blog.fingerhut.com/a-budget-can-improve-your-relationship-with-your-money/.

6. be suspicious of too-good-to-be-true claims from credit repair companies

They can’t lie to you about what they can do for you. For example, they can’t tell you they can’t remove any negative info from your credit report if that info is actually true. Also, they can’t promise you a specific increase to your credit score or guarantee a certain result. And if they ask you to pay upfront for their services? You guessed it… they can’t do that either. 6,7

7. build new credit history responsibly

If you get a new credit account, make monthly payments on time and keep your account balance low. Fingerhut offers you two ways that can help you build new credit history.8

WebBank/Fingerhut FreshStart® is a one-time purchase program for those starting out or starting over. FreshStart customers who have successfully completed this program have seen on average a 30 point increase^ on their FICO® Score.

The WebBank/Fingerhut Fetti Credit Account is a traditional revolving credit account that lets you shop as often as you like, up to your credit limit.

You can learn more about both at https://www.fingerhut.com/content/creditoverview.

8. be patient

It takes time to improve your credit, but you can rebuild your credit by paying your bills by the due date, paying off debt — especially on your credit cards — and not taking on new debt.6

Don’t beat yourself up if you make any mistakes along the way. Working to improve your credit history is one of the best things you can do for you and your family’s future.

1 https://consumer.ftc.gov/consumer-alerts/2021/03/free-weekly-credit-reports-during-covid-extended-through-december-2023

2 https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/credit-education/improving-credit/improve-credit-score/

3 https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/credit-education/score-basics/credit-utilization-rate/

4 https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/ways-to-improve-credit/

5 https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/how-to-make-a-budget/

6 https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/fixing-your-credit

7 https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/how-avoid-credit-repair-service-scams/

8 If you apply and are accepted for a Fingerhut Credit Account issued by WebBank, who determines eligibility and qualifications for the terms of credit.

^Based on the average FICO® Score increase from all Fingerhut FreshStart® account customers who successfully completed the program between 4/1/2021 through 4/1/2022. Average increase is based on FICO 8 methodology.

Fingerhut Credit Accounts are issued by WebBank.

FICO is a registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and other countries.

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