Simply Refusing Credit Is Not Enough To Get a Good Credit Score

As a fairly young professional, I often come across peers who seem to be going through a rough financial patch. It’s doesn’t require a large stretch of the imagination to see why young people have it so hard – they’re fresh in the workforce (aka not earning that much), they are riddled with student loans, and their credit might be non-existent or even poor!

For some, a natural solution might be to simply swear off using credit completely. I can see the logic behind this- credit is a scary beast that can get out of control. All it takes is for you to be behind on one payment, and if you’re living paycheck to paycheck, then you’re going to be playing catch up forever.

People who refuse to use credit might hope that their frugality would help their credit improve over time. Indeed, black marks on your credit report will fall off eventually. But there are even better ways to improve your credit.

Of course, it will require sacrifice. But as we will see later in this article, that initial sacrifice will put in place a virtuous cycle for your financial situation.


You want Good Credit, instead of No Credit or Fair Credit

As a society we’re growing smarter every day. Gone are the days when debt was viewed with flippant disregard. Our parents would have warned us of the dangers of having debt. However, that might have instilled almost too much fear of credit.

It’s gotten to a point where people are refusing to use credit cards, or pay for a house with as much cash as possible.

To me, it’s the “easy” thing to do. Put your head in the sand and your credit should naturally become not bad. But hey, not bad doesn’t mean good. And it’s Good Credit that gives you financial advantages in life like getting lower rates on your loans, having options in terms of renting an apartment, or even successfully applying for mortgages etc.


Often, you can improve your credit with easy wins

Earlier, I spoke of sacrifice in order to improve your credit. Yes, you probably know what’s required – cut back on a bunch of stuff – even (or especially) your morning latte.  Yes, I do believe that you should hold off on credit for a while, saving where you can and paying off what debt you already have.

IN ADDITION, however, you should also take steps to rectify issues that are marring your credit report. For example, it’s not very difficult to correct delinquent payments, as I show in my guide to getting late payments removed from your credit report.

Firstly, you’d be shocked by how often credit reporting companies actually make errors on your report. Secondly, sometimes it just takes a letter to convince your creditors to remove the delinquent payments from your report.


Having Good Credit is a Virtuous Cycle

Imagine how sweet life would be if you’re on top of all your debt repayments, bills etc. Sure, you have peace of mind. But more importantly, you get options in life. Let me show you what I mean:

Having good credit means that you’re more likely to get lower interest rates or more favourable terms on your new loans ->  you get to save more and build up an emergency reserve fund -> you won’t be caught back footed when you need to shell out in an emergency -> you won’t have to take out loans in an emergency and rack up more debt -> you don’t have huge loan repayments to make and can keep on top of your current payments -> credit improves further -> without all that debt weighing you down you can do more with your money.

See how it’s a virtuous cycle? That’s why it’s so important that you begin the cycle by making some sacrifices today!


Conclusion

Not taking on new credit is a sensible way to improve your credit. But it must be accompanied with other steps in order to really accelerate your credit repair. Steps like spending less, building a reserve fund and paying down your existing debt can really put you in good stead with prospective creditors.

Eventually, you’ll want to take on credit. Simply not using credit will not give you good credit. You build good credit by taking on loans that you can manage, and by staying on top of the repayments. Then you’ll start opening doors in life.

Here’s to wishing you all the best in your credit improvement journey!

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