Tina M. Sbrega President & CEO GFA Federal Credit Union How to Establish Credit Once, credit cards were only for the privileged few. The rest of us used cash - and when there was no more, we either had to borrow from a friend or family member, or make do until next payday. Today, qualifying for a credit card is easier then before. Establishing a positive credit record, however, requires dedication and patience. Whether you are new to credit or are trying to reestablish a favorable record, you may encounter a frustrating paradox: you must have and use credit to create a credit history, yet many financial institutions are reluctant to extend credit to someone without an established record. But don't despair - there are several good remedies for both situations. An excellent start is a credit builder loan. You are granted a loan and the proceeds are deposited in an account for you. Since the loan is secured against the funds on deposit you won’t have access to them, however as you make regular payments on your loan you are building credit – and savings. Once your loan is paid off, the funds in your deposit account are available to you. Consider a local retailer's credit card. Their criteria are often less rigorous then larger credit issuers. Be sure they subscribe to the major credit reporting agencies though - if not, you won't be establishing a credit history. Another option is having someone with a positive credit record cosign an account for you. This requires a great deal of trust on the part of the cosigner - if you fail to pay, he or she is responsible. You could end up jeopardizing a relationship as well as a credit record. Once you have a credit line or loan, establish a good history by using it responsibly. Keep balances low, always pay on time, don't pursue unnecessary credit, and stick with a few good credit instruments of various types. GFA Federal Credit Union believes that providing education on financial topics is as important as providing quality, value-added financial products. In addition to providing community seminars and workshops, GFA provides, at no cost to its Members, access to BALANCE – a personalized and confidential financial, credit and budget counseling service. For more information, visit your nearest branch, call 978-632-2542 or visit gfafcu.com.
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