When you know that you will want to build your credit history, it goes without saying that you should do anything and everything you can to build your history and keep it as pristine as possible. The last thing that you want to do is mess up your credit and miss out on being able to buy all of the things that people with solid credit histories can buy, such as a car or a house. Even if you don’t want those things right now, you never know what the future might hold. If you meet the love of your life and get married, you’re going to want to get a place that you and the other person can really call home.
How does all of this relate to credit cards? Well, in a nutshell, you have to make sure that you show that you’re a good credit risk. The only way to do that is to establish credit, and this usually means credit cards. You might think that it would be hard for you to get credit cards without a solid history, but you would be mistaken. The credit card companies generally reach out to people that are just starting their credit, which means that you will be able to get a card with a “starter” balance. This is a low balance that is designed to let you prove yourself.
Now, when you get your first credit card, you really might be tempted to just jump in and start charging your card up to the limit. This is a temptation, but it’s one that you are much better off avoiding more than anything else. First and foremost, if you really don’t take the time to be careful with your credit, you will have a very hard time making sure that you will have a solid future with credit cards. From there, you will need to be careful because all of your future lenders will be looking back on your credit history. If you show that you cannot be trusted with credit (also known as other people’s money), you will have a hard time getting more credit.
The best way to really make sure that you will have no problem at all getting the proper amount of credit in the future is to pay off your credit cards on time. Even if you have a card that allows you to carry a balance you should still make sure that you really do everything that you can to keep your balances low. Again, the amount that you have available in the credit world will have a profound effect on your credit score. You don’t want to end up being without good credit — this will only make your job a lot harder in the future.
Timely payments avoid collection activity on your account, which will paint a very negative portrait to any future lender. Even if you wanted to just go and get a store credit card, you would meet your resistance.
Thankfully, paying your credit cards on time is actually a lot easier than you think. Since you will know when your credit cards are due, all you really need to do is make sure that you schedule your payments automatically. If you’re leery about having a credit card company have that type of access to your finances, you will want to make sure that you actually step up and create a separate bank account. This is actually quite normal; many people have an account set up just for paying their bills.
Overall, given the importance of paying your credit cards on time, there’s no time like the present to look over your credit card records and make sure all your payments are up to date — get started today!