Summary – Using credit wisely

A recap of your best next steps. 
Good credit can give you financial flexibility and options. So let’s recap what you can do to build good credit and limit how much it costs you.
First, shop for a credit card with a low annual fee and a low interest rate. Every month, pay at least the minimum payment due and more whenever you can. Pay off your balance as quickly as you can.
Second, if you apply for a loan, shop around. Look for a lender with a good reputation. Understand the terms of the loan agreement before you sign.
Third, order a free credit report and find out your credit score. One of the best ways to improve your score is to always pay your bills on time.
Finally, remember that the key to financial freedom is living within your income. Never borrow more than you can manage to repay.
If you find yourself in trouble with debt, take action early. Call your lender and work with them to decide your next steps.

Points to remember

  • Credit is the ability to borrow money
  • Credit can give you financial options, flexibility, opportunities
  • Get a credit card with low annual fee and interest rate. Check for special rates or discounts for military members.
  • Reduce the interest you pay by paying off credit card bills quickly
  • Comparison shop for loans.
  • Choose a responsible lender
  • Understand the loan agreement before you sign
  • Know your credit score and work to improve it
  • Study your credit report and correct errors
  • Keep debt to less than 20% of yearly net income
  • Keep credit card payments to less than 10% of monthly net income
  • In trouble with debt? Contact your lender.
  • Don’t use payday lenders as a solution.

Learn more

Read the following articles to get more information about credit:

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