Your credit score is the key to opening up better options for financing, whether you're looking to buy a new car, a new home or any similarly large purchase. Building good credit takes time, and there are a few missteps that'll take you further away from your goal. Here are a few things to avoid when trying to build credit:
1. Being late or missing payments. For any existing credit accounts you have, keep up with the payments regularly. Most credit issuers will charge you a late fee if at least the minimum balance isn't paid on time, and some will immediately raise the interest rates on your accounts or forfeit any promotional rates you may have had.
2. Having a high debt-to-credit ratio. If you've charged nearly the maximum limit on your credit cards and have very little available balance left, that's a red flag to other lenders. A good rule of thumb is to not carry a balance of more than 30% of your total credit limit. This rule applies to all accounts including mortgages, car loans, and other personal loans.
3. Making lots of credit inquiries. Every time you open a new credit account, lenders will check your credit history. Too many of these analyses clustered together will hurt your score. Note that this guideline applies to opening different types of credit lines within a short period; if you're shopping around for the best rate on, say, an auto loan, those inquiries will count as just one search and won't harm your score.
4. Not paying parking tickets. It may seem like a small amount and not worth the hassle of mailing in a payment, but settling these tickets is a must. Unpaid tickets frequently go to collections, and any time an account goes to collections it reflects poorly on your overall score.
If you have had credit issues and have been unable to get a car loan, we can help. Past credit mistakes won't necessarily keep you from getting the car you want. We can get you pre-approved in no time.