I'm New to Credit
Building credit is an important part of your financial life, so we've assembled some tips and resources to help you get started.
I'm Rebuilding Credit
As your financial partner, we understand that rebuilding credit is easier if you know where to start and have a plan to follow. Our tools and resources can help guide you.
I'm Managing Credit
It’s easy to monitor, manage and help control your credit score with our free credit dashboard.1
Video Transcript for What Makes Up Your Credit Score?
- Do you know what makes up your credit score?
- I know this. This is really--
- Ah, I got this. I'm asking them.
Navy Federal Credit Union, Making Cents. What Makes Up My Credit Score? A woman and man in blue shirts in a white break room area. He eats.
Ooh, donuts, the perfect way to start my day.
A box of glazed donuts with sprinkles.
I'm coming back for you. What was I saying?
Oh, yes. Ever again, everyone's favorite Navy Federal Credit Union friend.
The man wheels in a white board and looks confused.
I recently overheard a young active duty service member talking about having trouble figuring out their credit score. It hit me that they can't be the only one who's a little bit confused.
On the whiteboard, different buildings with numbers 1, 2, and 3 under them. A gauge shows credit score.
See, each of the three credit bureaus calculate your score a little differently. But they look at similar information. According to VantageScore, three of the factors used to calculate scores are loan payments, credit card balances, and personal bankruptcy. They also suggest you can raise a low score or maintain a high one by making all your loan payments on time, keeping all your credit card balances 70% under your total limit, and not opening multiple credit card accounts within the same time frame.
Here's a Smart Money Strategy for you.
Smart Money Strategy. An orange checkmark.
A VantageScore credit score ranges from 300 to 850, with 850 being the highest. Members can check their VantageScore using our free Mission Credit Confidence dashboard. You'll get a look at your overall credit, history, and see how different factors can affect your score.
Drawing of a man checking this information on the dashboard.
No need to thank me. I'm just doing what I do best, MakingCents of your money together.
Half a donut in the box.
Bryan, did you really leave me half a donut?
- Well maybe let me explain something to them next to it.
He leaves. She looks at the camera with her mouth open.
- Bring more strawberry frosting, then we'll talk.
She smiles and shakes her head.
He moves the kitchen counter out of frame. She guides him. Text, For more smart money tips, visit navy federal dot o r g slash making cents. Cents is spelled c e n t s. Insured by N C U A. This information is not legal nor financial advice. Instead, it is provided for your general informational purposes only. You should consult your own attorney or financial advisor regarding your particular situation. The credit score and report you will receive through Mission Credit Confidence Dashboard is a TransUnion credit report with a TransUnion Vantage 3 Score.
A secured credit card is a great way to get started. It works like any other credit card, but backed by a cash deposit. And, with some cards, you can even earn rewards.
If you plan to begin with a different type of credit like an auto loan, and aren’t sure you’d qualify on your own, having a co-signer could improve your chances of qualifying.
Make Smart Credit Decisions
The number-one thing you can do to build good credit is to make payments on time, as late payments will lower your credit score. Create a budget to make sure you have enough money to pay your expenses each month, and use reminders or other tools to keep you on track. Some easy ways to make sure you aren’t late include using calendar reminders and tools like automatic bill pay and money transfers.
You’ll want to keep your balances low and manageable, so avoid using all your available credit and, when possible, pay more than the minimum payment each month. That way, you’ll pay less interest and pay off your debt sooner.
Create a Budget & Pay Down Debt
We know your goal is to get back on track, but the first step is to check your budget. Are there things you can adjust? Then, push to make on-time payments for at least the minimum (but ideally more) on all your loans. Use automatic bill pay to ensure you never miss a payment.
One strategy to reduce debt is the “avalanche method.” You focus on paying off the loan with the highest interest, while continuing to make at least the minimum payments on your other debts. Once the higher-interest loan is paid off, add that payment amount on the next highest-interest debt and so on until you’ve paid off each debt. If you need help, consider our free confidential personal finance counseling, available at 1-888-503-7106.
Build Good Credit
Lenders evaluate a variety of factors to determine your creditworthiness. Some of the factors that affect your credit most are:
- how much you owe in total
- your payment history
- how long ago you established credit
- how much of your current credit is new
- the types of credit you use
Consider using products that will help you build good credit. A secured credit card helps you build credit while earning rewards.
Managing Your Credit
Take Control of Your Credit
Easily monitor, manage and help control your credit score with our free Mission: Credit Confidence™ Dashboard.
- Monitor Your Credit Score
Get monthly score updates without impact to your score.
- Use the Score Simulator
See how certain actions (like adding or paying down debt) could affect your score.
- Get Credit Score Alerts
Sign up for alerts to notify you of score changes.
- Reach Your Goals
Set a goal and work toward your desired credit score.
Get Your Credit Report. The 3 national credit reporting agencies—Equifax®, Experian® and TransUnion®—are required to provide you a free copy of your credit reports once a year. You can request and review your reports at annualcreditreport.com. If you find an error contact the credit bureau directly to file a dispute.
The credit score and report you will receive through Mission: Credit Confidence® Dashboard is a TransUnion® credit report with a TransUnion® Vantage 3 Score.↵