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  • Only use a credit card for convenience and building credit
  • Carry a balance you can approximately pay off each month
  • Pay your bills on time. Late payments can damage your credit record
  • Make more than the minimum payment due
  • Keep your credit card balances low
  • Rule of thumb: Keep your balance far below 50% of your credit limit
  • Only have one credit card and choose one with the lowest rates
  • Choosing a credit card from a bank usually has lower rates and often times a rewards program as well

Credit Scores


A credit score is a number that strongly indicates to lenders and creditors how likely you are to pay back the debt you owe. It is based on your past borrowing behavior, and the higher the score, the more likely that you will pay back the money you borrow.

Your credit score is used to determine whether you can get credit for things like: a credit card, loans to buy a house or car, or to finance your college tuition. It is also used to determine what kind of loan, how much credit you are eligible for, and what your interest rate will be.

The three main reputable credit bureaus are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.

Business Services
Emma B. Lommasson Center
Room 236
The University of Montana
Missoula, MT 59812