Perhaps you may have had good credit in the past, but are now experiencing a much lower credit score due to choices or life circumstances. Or, you may be building your credit for the first time as a young adult or as a newly single adult. Whatever the reason, you can rely on Pen Air as your partner in building or reestablishing your credit.
Here are five ways we can help you get your credit rating going in the right direction if you're just starting out, or boost your credit rating at any time:
1.) Online and in-person credit counseling - Give us an opportunity to work with your credit report and your budget to help you find ways to pay down and eliminate debt or unnecessary expenses. Sometimes, it takes a fresh perspective to see your own situation clearly, and we've already helped countless members do just that. This is especially true if you feel weighed down by debt and monthly payments. Give our credit counselors a chance to show you how to pare down your debt and build up your credit score. It's one of your many free benefits as a credit union member!
2.) Credit builder loans - Check out this unique loan. Essentially, we make a relatively small loan to you, and instead of providing you with cash or depositing the money into your checking account, we set up a special interest-bearing account with it instead. You make monthly payments to us until the amount of the loan is paid, plus a low interest rate that is established at the time of the loan. When it's repaid in full, with payments made on time each month, you have access to all the money in the special savings account and we provide a good report to the credit bureaus. It's a great way to get started building or rebuilding your credit as a member.
3.) Secured credit card - Consider setting aside $500 to secure a credit card in your name. You'll have the convenience of shopping with a reputable card brand, and we hold the funds in a savings account to secure your purchases. You pay off your card balance or make monthly payments by the due date each month, and your credit score goes up.
Compare our low interest rates with no annual fee to bank products, and you'll see they generally have higher interest rates and annual fees. It's easy to see why it makes sense to build your credit with your Pen Air membership benefits.
4.) Online budget/financial management tools - Our credit counselors will help you set up your online budgeting program and provide you with options for saving and investing, too. You can use the program on your own, whenever you're ready. You'll find options for monthly spreadsheets, and profit and loss statements for your personal and small business needs.
5.) Rent payment reporting - Make sure your rent payments are tracked and reported to Experian RentBureau, the only major credit reporting agency to include on-time rental payment data on its reports. Use of timely rent payments to build and boost credit scores is relatively new, and many people don't know about it yet.
If you're already leasing a home, or looking to find a suitable property to lease, ask your management company if your payments are reported to Experian RentBureau. And if you pay rent to an individual rather than a management company, you can still take advantage of a service that collects your rent payments electronically, pays your landlord and reports to Experian. It may be possible to include your excellent rent payment history, too.
Here's the important thing to remember - to use your timely rent payment history for building or rebuilding your credit, you'll need to be proactive about it. There are a handful of services that will collect, disburse and report for you, but of course, you'll pay a small fee for the service each month. You must contact them to pay the small fee, but it can be a valuable investment in building your credit score, along with credit counseling, credit builder loans and secured credit cards from us.
Planning for a good credit rating is just as important as planning for major purchases and life transitions. The importance of a good credit rating means it can't be an afterthought and it shouldn't be left to chance.
You've made the decision to become a credit union member, and that's a step in the right direction! Give us a call at 850.505.3200 to take a look at your credit score and to talk about options for improving it.