Building good credit

A Consumer Action publication

What does credit have to do with all of these things?

Having good credit can help you achieve your goals. It can even save you money when you borrow because you’ll qualify for lower interest rates. If you start now, you can build a good credit history that will benefit you throughout your lifetime.

How do you increase your credit score?

It takes time to establish a credit history or improve your credit score, but it’s important to do. A few of the best ways:

  • Borrow money and repay it on time.
  • Make up any missed payments.
  • Try not to use more than 30 percent of your available credit.
  • Correct any errors in your credit report.

Why should you make your payments days in advance of the due date?

Good credit means you have borrowed money and paid your bills on time. That means paying before the payment is due so that there is time for the payment to be received and processed. In addition to helping you build good credit, paying early will help you avoid late fees and extra interest charges.

How can your smartphone and apps help you with payments?

See if you can set up text or email reminders from the businesses you need to pay. Or, schedule reminders in a personal finance or calendar app on your smartphone.

Is there an easy way to avoid late payments?

Another way to make sure you never pay late is to set up automatic payments with the company you are paying. (Caution: Avoid payment fees!) If you have a checking account, you can schedule payments through online banking. Just make sure you have enough money in your account the day the payment is taken out!

How much should you pay each month?

In addition to paying on time, try to pay more than the minimum amount due. That way, you get out of debt faster, save money (in interest charges) and show future lenders that you are not taking on more than you can handle.

About Consumer Action

Through multilingual consumer education materials, community outreach and issue-focused advocacy, Consumer Action empowers underrepresented consumers nationwide to assert their rights and financially prosper. Consumer Action created this guide in partnership with Oportun. Illustrations by Cherie Chen.

Consumer advice and assistance: Submit consumer complaints to or 415-777-9635 (Chinese, English and Spanish spoken).

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