If you build good credit, you will have a pretty easy time getting loans offers from a wide variety of lenders to expand your business or to buy that dream home – but if your score is low or nonexistent, you won’t
Tips to build good credit
- Putting good credit habits into action takes self-discipline. You’ll have to tell yourself “no” when you want to use your credit card to make a purchase but can’t pay your bill in full at the end of the month. Know the Dos and Don’ts of Using Credit Wisely.
- When you put money aside to pay your credit card bill, make sure you don’t spend it on something else before your credit card statement arrives.
- Most credit cards allow you to view your account activity online. If your credit card gives you this ability, sign up so you can monitor your credit card balance and pay your bill online. You can even sign up for paperless billing statements which allows you to receive your statement online instead of regular mail.
- Start out with just one credit card, so you can keep your payments manageable. Having several credit cards is tempting, but it’s easy to accumulate too many credit cards. Several balances and due dates can cause confusing and lead you to debt and a damaged credit score.
- You can stop credit card offers so you won’t be tempted to open new credit cards. If you choose to opt-out temporarily while you get used to credit, you can opt-in later to survey better credit card deals.
- There may be months that unexpected expenses keep you from paying your balance in full. During those months, make at least the minimum payment and don’t increase your credit card balance by making more credit card charges.
- If you know you don’t have the money to pay your credit card balance, put the card away. Don’t use it until you can afford to pay new charges again. This is the benefit of paying your balance in full – you don’t have to worry about maintaining a balance if your income decreases or other expenses increase.
- It take time to build a good credit score, so don’t try to rush it. Use credit responsibly and a great credit score will follow. If you start out with great credit habits, you won’t have the difficult task of repairing your credit score later on.
If you have a low credit score, it isn’t something you can run away from, and even if you avoid it, it won’t go away. The trick is to fund your business in ways that actually get your score back on track so when you’re ready to move your business to the next stage, your score will start opening doors rather than getting them slammed in your face.
Here are some ideas for entrepreneurs who want to build good credit:
1. Look beyond credit cards and bank loans for financing. Studies show that credit card and bank financing account for just 25 percent of the total funding needs of early-stage entrepreneurs. This statistic should provide you some comfort, because it implies that 75 per cent of the money you need can come from other sources that rely less good credit score.
While there are credit cards and lending programs designed for individuals with poor credit, these options will typically charge a higher interest rate to compensate for the credit risk posed by a sub-prime borrower. One bank option for those with poor credit scores is a home equity line of credit, though you should be wary of putting your home on the line to finance a risky early-stage venture.
2. Seek personal loans from your relatives and friends. Everyone likes the idea of entrepreneurship, which may be why, at some point, more than 50 per cent of all business owners get financing help from friends and relatives. Chances are, your relatives and friends want to see you succeed and may be able to help make your business dream a reality.
They also may not dwell on your poor credit score because they trust you, or they believe your business concept to be sound. (Banks used to evaluate your character and business conditions the way family and friends still do, but credit scoring models have made lending decisions more automated, resulting in the critical power your credit score holds over you.)
Also, you can now use private personal loans from relatives, friends and business associates to build good credit.
3. Don’t overlook gifts and grants. If you need to avoid making debt payments, focus on getting “free” money in the form of gifts and grants. Your search will be long and hard–despite what you read on the internet, there is no silver bullet here. Be wary of services that promise to locate government or private grant programs for you. If you want to avoid scams, you will need to do your homework to locate programs that are available for your type of business.
Health-care businesses, technology companies, and retail businesses in low-income areas tend to qualify for the bulk of grant money. Other forms of “free” money include gifts from relatives, free office space from former employers, and free services from friends or business associates. If you’re creative, you can reduce your startup costs by brainstorming a list of people who would be willing to provide you with gifts and subsidised personal loans.
Your credit report is a record of your credit payment history compiled from different credit providers. As most lenders will check your credit file to assess your credit worthiness prior to making a decision, a good credit repayment history will make it easier for you to obtain credit and to qualify for loans.
By reviewing your credit report regularly, it allows you to be aware of any information that is uploaded on your credit file. The other advantage of monitoring your credit file is that it protects against possible fraudulent use of your personal details to obtain credit.