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How to get and be on top of Credit

Having credit in your name is part of the approval process if you ever want to buy a car or house and take out a major loan to do so.

Establishing credit is the first step in doing so.

According to, Steve Bucci, the president of Money Management International Financial Education Foundation and the author of "Credit Repair Kit for Dummies," suggests.
Do's and don'ts
• Open a bank account.
• Apply for a credit card.
• Make sure the creditor reports account activity to the credit bureaus.
• Charge purchases and make payments on time.
• Remember that a $5,000 credit limit is not $5,000 in additional income.
• Create a spending plan.
• A secured card is an option.
• If denied credit, ask why.
• Don't overdraw your bank account.
• Avoid missed or late payments to any creditor.
• Don't let anyone use your credit card or access your bank account.
• Don't give your card number to anyone.
• Avoid cash advances at all costs.

It's important to remember;

  • Don't overdraw your bank account. You will be charged fees, and you could damage a good reference.
  • Avoid missed or late payments to any creditor.
  • Don't let anyone else borrow your credit card, debit card or in any way have access to your bank account.
Almost anyone will tell you to avoid cash advances at all costs. They're expensive.

Apply for credit that says

Be on top of your credit

Credit card and mortgage payments are regularly reported to the three credit bureaus (Equifax, 888-532-0179; Trans Union, 800-888-4213; and Experian, 888-397-3742), but most consumer payments -- including rent, insurance and even student loans -- are not, unless there's a problem.

The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have set up a central website, a toll-free telephone number, and a mailing address through which you can order your free annual report.

To order, visit, call 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. The form is on the back of this brochure; or you can print it from Do not contact the three nationwide consumer reporting companies individually. They are providing free annual credit reports only through, 1-877-322-8228, and Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.

Your credit report has information that affects whether you can get a loan — and how much you will have to pay to borrow money. You want a copy of your credit report to:

  • make sure the information is accurate, complete, and up-to-date before you apply for a loan for a major purchase like a house or car, buy insurance, or apply for a job.
  • help guard against identity theft. That’s when someone uses your personal information — like your name, your Social Security number, or your credit card number — to commit fraud. Identity thieves may use your information to open a new credit card account in your name. Then, when they don’t pay the bills, the delinquent account is reported on your credit report. Inaccurate information like that could affect your ability to get credit, insurance, or even a job.

Under federal law, you’re entitled to a free report if a company takes adverse action against you, such as denying your application for credit, insurance, or employment, and you ask for your report within 60 days of receiving notice of the action. The notice will give you the name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting company. You’re also entitled to one free report a year if you’re unemployed and plan to look for a job within 60 days; if you’re on welfare; or if your report is inaccurate because of fraud, including identity theft. Otherwise, a consumer reporting company may charge you up to $10.50 for another copy of your report within a
12-month period.

To buy a copy of your report, contact:

Under state law, consumers in Colorado, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Vermont already have free access to their credit reports.

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To learn more about credit issues and protecting your personal information, visit

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