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By Tracey Rector, Alumna of IUPUI

Building credit might seem like something to take on after graduation, but it’s not. The sooner you start building credit, the easier it will be after college to make large purchases on your own. So how do you get started?

Thankfully, it’s not as scary as it sounds. All you need to do is be responsible and be proactive.

Get a Credit Card
Don’t get too excited. Just because you have a credit card doesn’t mean you need to spend it all the time, max it out, etc. For your first credit card, perhaps use it for a large purchase that will help you in the long run or for school, such as a computer or camera. Pay off the card as soon as you can to help you avoid paying interest. Also, if possible, look for cards that offer zero percent interest offers and try to pay off your card before the promotion period expires.

Choose a Reliable Co-Signer
Sometimes for large purchases or obtaining a credit card, you may need a co-signer to help you get started. When choosing a co-signer, whether it’s a parent or close family member, be sure to choose someone you can rely on. In return, always pay the bill on time so you don’t negatively affect their credit.

Pay Bills on Time
Going more in depth on paying bills on time, this is one of the most important aspects of having good credit. This shows lenders you’re reliable and they will feel more comfortable giving you a loan based on your consistency.

Stability
When lenders are deciding how much to loan, they will look at your stability. Have you lived at your residence for two or more years? Have you held your job for two or more years? Those are some of the things they look at. So as a freshman, sophomore or even junior in college, that’s the time to build this stability so it will be there come graduation.