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Using Credit Wisely

Understanding the role of credit in your life is invaluable. Your credit score impacts your ability to obtain a mortgage, a car loan, a credit card, or even a student loan. And, if you have bad credit, it will be more expensive for you to borrow money for any purpose because your interest rate will be higher. So, how can you use credit wisely and establish good credit?


Start by checking your credit report. Federal law allows you to get a free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian). You can also visit any FORUM branch location to receive your free report as well as a free analysis. Receiving an analysis is a great way to understand how you can establish, maintain, or even rebuild your credit.


Following a few simple guidelines will also help you get on the right track to great credit. You can improve your history by paying bills on time, getting current with missed payments, contacting creditors to work out payment plans, keeping balances low, and paying off debt instead of moving it around. With credit card fraud and identify theft as a risk, it’s also important to be proactive in reducing this risk by reviewing your online statement frequently. And don’t forget to enjoy the benefits of credit by shopping around for a credit card that offers rewards.


In all areas, it’s beneficial to be financially aware. FORUM created the SaveItUp program to encourage better saving and spending habits and to promote financial wellness. Each month, we highlight financial topics to help you get financially fit. For more information, click here. If you’re considering consolidating debt to pay off your credit, take a look at our free credit line calculators. Remember, the most important thing you can do today is take that first step and check your credit.