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7 Tips to building credit

If you have started your credit building journey with an 
OpenSky credit card, you have taken the first step!

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Good credit matters

A good credit score is crucial in today's economy. It opens doors to essential financial opportunities and reflects your financial trustworthiness, influencing not only lenders but also employers, landlords, and insurers. Low credit scores limit access to credit, lead to higher premiums, and result in elevated interest rates on loans. Keep reading for more credit-building tips.

What are tradelines and how can they help build credit?

Tradelines are specific credit accounts, and credit reporting agencies prefer a diverse mix in your credit history. Tradelines generally fit into two categories:

  1. Installment accounts (e.g., car loans, student loans, credit builder loans, and mortgages) involve receiving a lump sum paid back in regular installments over a fixed period.
  2. Revolving accounts (e.g., credit cards) offer flexibility, allowing you to borrow and repay varying amounts at your discretion (with a minimum payment requirement).

While there's no set number required, having a mix of installment and revolving accounts demonstrates responsible credit management, potentially boosting your credit score.

Credit building dates to remember

Understanding and keeping track of important credit card dates is vital for effective account management and credit building. Three key dates to focus on are:

  1. Billing Cycle: The period between billing statements. Importance: Knowing its start and end helps manage monthly charges within your limits.

  2. Closing Date: Marks the end of the billing cycle. Importance: A grace period follows your closing date, allowing time for payment. 

  3. Payment Due Date: The final day to make a payment towards your most recent billing cycle. Importance: Timely payment is crucial to avoid late fees, interest charges, and negative impacts on your credit score.

The critical role of credit utilization

Credit utilization significantly impacts your score. It is the ratio of your outstanding credit card balances to available credit limits. Experts advise maintaining a utilization below 30%, with 10% considered closer to ideal. In fact, those with scores above 795 often maintain an average utilization of around 7%.

In addition to paying off balances and reducing credit spending, increasing your credit limit or getting an additional card without another credit check can boost your FICO score. Credit experts advise keeping old cards open, as it can make you appear more creditworthy with a higher limit and lower utilization reported to the bureaus.

Building a better payment history

Payment history is key in determining creditworthiness. Lenders prioritize it to assess your credit responsibility. Without a payment history, there's no evidence to support the ability to manage debt, and negative flags on an established credit history can lower credit scores. Establishing and maintaining a good credit history is crucial.

Payment history provides details like credit duration, monthly debt payments, and payment timeliness. To build or enhance your credit, prioritize paying bills on time. Creditors value responsible and timely payments, considering the payment amount in relation to debt and available credit. Meeting at least the minimum payment helps improve your credit.

5 steps in building credit for a mortgage

Prepare your credit profile for buying a home with these 6 credit-building steps:

  1. Regularly monitor your credit reports to understand reporting behaviors.

  2. Maintain at least two lines of credit before applying for a mortgage.

  3. Improve your score by making two smaller payments per billing cycle to reduce balances.
  4. Leverage timely payments of utility bill to boost your credit through "self-reporting."

  5. Avoid financing large purchases before you get a mortgage.

The advantages of your OpenSky card and how you can build your profile faster

  1. A good mobile app will allow for instant access and easy credit management.
  2. Flexible due dates allow you to adjust the timing of your payments with your monthly budget.
  3. No credit check means a better chance at approval and no impact on your score.
  4. Payment grace periods allow for extra time before reports go out to credit bureaus.
  5. Prioritize security by choosing a card company that doesn't require access to your bank account.
Good credit mattersGood credit matters
What are tradelines and how can they help build credit?What are tradelines and how can they help build credit?
Credit building dates to rememberCredit building dates to remember
The critical role of 
credit utilizationThe critical role of credit utilization
Building a better payment historyBuilding a better payment history
5 steps in building credit 
for a mortgage5 steps in building credit for a mortgage
The advantages of your OpenSky card and how you 
can build your profile fasterThe advantages of your OpenSky card and how you can build your profile faster

What affects my credit?

No credit check means no negative impact - your OpenSky card is a great first step to building your credit.

On-time
payments

Payment history is a significant factor in your credit score.  A history of monthly on-time payments shows lenders that you can manage credit responsibly. A payment that’s 30+ days late is often reported to the credit bureaus.

TIP: Never miss a payment with autopay or set up alerts to receive notifications when your payments are due.

Length of
credit history

A longer credit history provides lenders with a better picture of your financial habits and responsibility.  The longer credit is established the more it can help build a positive history.

TIP: Keep your oldest credit account open and in good standing. This can help build a positive credit history.

Recent inquiries and new accounts

Applying for too many lines of credit at once can have a negative impact on your score.  Too many inquiries and new accounts within a short period of time could also be an indicator that someone may be financially overextended.

TIP: Apply for credit only when you need it.

Credit utilization and available credit

if you use too much of your available credit, you may not have enough credit when you need it. Try to keep your balance low relative to your credit limit.  A high credit card balance can make it harder to pay off and can negatively impact your score.

TIP: Using less than 30% of your available credit is a good goal