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Using Credit Cards to Build Credit


Your credit matters. Whether you want to buy a new mobile device, apply for a rental lease, get an auto loan, or eventually buy your own home—a good credit score can benefit you in many ways.

The idea to building credit is simple:

  • A company extends a line of credit to you
  • A payment schedule is part of the agreement
  • You pay according to the schedule (including any interest charges or fees)
  • You ensure payments are made on-time

Open a credit card account

Building credit happens over time, and a credit card account is a good way to show that you can be trusted to make payments. To start with, you may wish to apply for a card with a low spending limit. Only use it to purchase smaller items that you know you’ll be able to pay off in full each month. Be diligent about paying on-time and you’ll establish a history of responsible payments that can build good credit.

Secured credit cards

If you can’t get approval for a traditional credit card, a secured credit card may be a good alternative. When you pay it off each month, you can establish or improve your credit. It draws money from an account that you fund and gives you the opportunity to make monthly payments on your purchases. And if you do apply for a secured credit card as a way to build credit, make sure the lender you choose reports to the credit reporting companies. You want to make sure you’re rewarded for your efforts.

Increase in credit limit

Using too much of your card’s credit limit can lower your credit score. Credit bureaus like to see plenty of room between the amount of credit you use and how much credit you have left on the account. Some experts advise using only 30 percent of the credit limit available to you, while others recommend using 10 percent. In either case, be aware of how much credit you utilize and make sure it doesn’t approach anywhere near the maximum allowed. If it does, request a credit limit increase.

Alternative account types

If you’re unable to get your own credit card (either regular or secured), another option is to apply for a joint account card or as an authorized user on someone else’s account. In both cases, make sure that all parties make payments on-time so that your credit is helped and not harmed. Joint accountholders and authorized users are all responsible for reliably paying according to the cardholder agreement.

Building credit takes time, so be willing to take it slowly, make all monthly payments, and monitor your score(Opens in a new window) for progress. Sunflower Bank may have a Visa® rewards credit card that’s right for you. Stop by any Sunflower Bank location(Opens in a new window) today, or call Customer Care at 888.827.5564 to get started. 

Banking Education