First year in college? Here's what you need to know about credit.

College is a great opportunity to expand horizons, have new experiences, and trash your credit.

Every year, students invest countless hours and thousands of dollars into their education for the prospect of a good career with good income in the future. Unfortunately, many of these students neglect their credit during their college career, and put themselves in a poor position to capitalize on their investment.

Follow these rules to keep a handle on your credit as you start your college career:

Establish Credit Early.

Credit is a pay to play system, requiring you to learn how to use credit in order to have credit. Open a small, secured credit card from your local credit union or bank.

Don't Use More Than 30% of the Available Credit Limit.

Credit cards are not free money, and can create serious credit challenges early if misused. An easy way to keep credit cards in check is to never use more than 30% of the available credit limit, and strive to pay off your credit cards each month.

Avoid Unnecessary Credit Cards or Inquiries.

There's a good chance you could end up paying 5x the original price for that new pair of shoes if by opening a store card. If it's not a necessity, stay away.

Pay Everything On Time!

Thirty five percent of your credit score is made up of simply paying accounts on time. Late payments are an anchor on your credit score, and will haunt you in the future.


If you follow these rules in college, you'll keep more of your hard earned money and set yourself up for success in the future. Besides, good credit goes beyond just getting a loan, and can even help you get a date...

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