When establishing financial fitness goals, the Independent Community Bankers of America and Waterford Bank, N.A. want to remind customers: it’s easier to build a credit score than to repair a bad one.
“Having a good credit history is key to any financial plan,” said Ann Baksh, Branch Customer Service Officer of Waterford Bank, N.A. “Credit scores take into consideration years of past behavior, so it’s important to establish a history of responsible credit practices and build your score by maintaining good habits.”
ICBA and Waterford Bank offer the following tips to help build and maintain good credit:
- If you are just beginning to establish your credit history, open a checking account and keep careful track of your balance.
- Use debit and credit cards for convenience and safety, but don’t overspend. Missed or late payments damage your credit and hurts your credit score.
- A good mix of credit (i.e., a revolving credit line and an installment loan) may also help boost your credit score and further demonstrates that you can manage different types of credit.
- Demonstrate stability in the three to six months before a major purchase. Avoid opening or closing accounts or moving large amounts of money around.
- Build an emergency fund equal to at least six months of living expenses. If the unexpected happens, you will still be able to pay fixed expenses instead of falling behind.
- Alter your credit focus as you approach life cycle stages. As you near retirement, for example, start paying down major purchases (such as a mortgage).
- Monitor your credit regularly so you can correct any errors and detect any potential signs of identity theft.
“Establishing good spending and saving habits, and sticking with them, is critical when times are tough and can go a long way toward helping you achieve your financial goals,” said Scott Heitkamp, ICBA chairman and president. “Your local community bank can serve as a great resource for credit questions you may have, don’t be afraid to reach out.”
At Waterford Bank, N.A. we are invested in helping our customers achieve their individual ideas of financial success. From personal account management to growing a business and beyond, our team is home to decades of financial experience. If you have questions about making the switch to Waterford or any other banking needs, contact us.