A credit card statement may feel daunting, but that’s not what scares many millennials. According to a recent Capital One survey, a quarter of this demographic said their biggest financial fear is building a good credit score, something they considered even more nerve-wracking than asking for a raise or having a serious money talk with their partner.
The survey, conducted online last March, polled just over 1,000 millennials, with almost half of them saying the main reason they carry a credit card is to build solid credit. Knowing it’s crucial to establish good credit, it’s no wonder they view this as such a scary milestone. Still, turning a blind eye to credit scores could cause problems down the road, since having no credit or, worse, bad credit can make it harder to get affordable financing.
What Does Affect Your Credit Score
When building good credit, it’s helpful to know what can really impact your score. This knowledge can certainly make credit scores seem less daunting. Here are the five major factors.
- Payment History: Creditors look at how often you pay debts on time, if you’re late or miss payments altogether. A habit of not paying on time can cause you to be seen as a risk, in turn hurting your credit.
- Amount of Debt: Debt isn’t always a bad thing, as long as it’s managed responsibly. However, too much of it can negatively impact your score.
- Variety of Accounts: This can include credit cards, student loans, car loans or any other type of debt. Lenders look to see if you can handle different types of debt, so only carrying credit cards may prevent you from earning a higher score.
- Credit History: This is a track record of your credit choices. Poor ones can impact your credit for some time, if you don’t take steps to correct them.
- Age of Accounts: Millennials are likely fairly new to building credit, so they won’t have a long history of accounts. Time is the main way to improve this.
Keeping an Eye on Your Credit Score
Building a strong credit score can be beneficial as you start to look at making major purchases like a car or house. Credit reports are even something that many employers look at before hiring someone, which only 22% of survey respondents knew.
To get on the path to the best credit score, you need to know where your credit stands. To do so, you can get your credit report from AnnualCreditReports.com, which you can do for free once a year. After reviewing your report, you can start taking steps to improve your score. You can see two of your credit scores for free each month on Credit.com and monitor how your hard work is paying off.
More on Credit Reports & Credit Scores:
- The Credit.com Credit Reports Learning Center
- What’s a Good Credit Score?
- How to Get Your Free Annual Credit Report