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Credit cards are key to building your credit score, but they come with a great deal of responsibility. Irresponsible credit card use could result in heavy debt and an unnecessary squeeze on your financial life. Building good credit is an easy process with the right management strategies.

 

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Start with a Starter Card

The first step to building a solid credit foundation is looking for student or secured cards. Student credit cards come with benefits such as low-interest rates. You may even be offered rewards for good grades.

Secured cards require a deposit that determines your credit line. Secured cards are usually reserved for people with subpar or no credit, but collateral-based cards pave the way to unsecured credit card qualification in the future.

 

Avoid Opening Multiple Accounts

Experts recommend having one credit card at a time, especially as young people build their credit. Too many credit card accounts could lead to financial mismanagement, delinquent accounts, and red flags to creditors. Plus, having only one account makes it easier to budget and pay down the debt you owe.

 

Pay Debts Quickly

Be sure to pay off debts as soon as you can. Settling debts quickly helps you:

 - avoid racking up interest

 - prevent high debt buildup

 - stay organized

If possible, try to pay off debts within the month or at least pay more than the minimum amount due per month. Prioritize your credit card bills when budgeting and pay down your balance as much as possible to avoid excess interest.

 

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Don’t Rack up Debt

As your credit score gets better, you may find yourself tempted to push your credit line to the limit, but it’s important to plan for the unexpected and maintain a balance that is 50 percent or more below the credit line. A high debt-to-income ratio could prevent you from obtaining a mortgage or financing a car.

 

Pay Bills on Time

Paying bills on or before the due date helps you avoid late fees and additional interest. Also, missing a payment deadline can severely affect your credit score. The best way to keep track of due dates is through savings apps like Squeeze