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Credit Score Basics

Start Early... It's Good Advice

Believe it or not, one day you’ll be a lot older... maybe you’ll be married, have kids, a career, even a mortgage. Maybe that day seems a long way off... maybe just around the corner. Either way, good credit is a good thing at any age, at any stage and with any lifestyle. It simply makes life easier.

Building good credit really starts with the first bank account you open, the first check you write or the first debit card purchase you make. The financial decisions you make today impact your Credit Score and Credit Report... and ultimately any major purchases you hope to make down the road.

Yes, building good credit is really that important.

If you have a bank account, a credit card, a car payment, a rent payment? Then you have a Credit Score.

Credit Scores are based on statistical analysis of your credit files. That means if you pay your bills and debts on time, both interest and principal, then you are considered a good credit risk. Lenders use credit scores to determine who qualifies for a loan, at what interest rate and with what credit limits.

Simply put, someone is keeping track of if and when you pay your bills. And if you fail to meet your financial obligation to creditors, it can literally impact you for years to come.

When people fail to make timely payments, lenders are hesitant to give loans to high-risk borrowers. It makes owning a home, buying a car, getting any kind of loan seriously costly and often impossible.

The good news is that building good credit is pretty easy: Pay what you owe when you owe it. It’s the right way to score big points. S&T makes it easy to keep track of your account balance with online banking and account alerts. It's also easy to stay on top of your bills with bill pay1.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), a credit report includes information on where you live, how you pay your bills and whether you've been sued, arrested or filed for bankruptcy.

Nationwide consumer reporting companies share the information in your report with creditors, insurers, employers, and other businesses that use it to evaluate your applications for credit, insurance, employment or even renting an apartment.

Essentially, your credit report is available to any party who wants to pay for it. People will see it, and it’s in your best interest to make sure its contents reflect you in a positive light.

You are also entitled to a free copy of your credit report annually. The FTC directs consumers to annualcreditreport.com to obtain a legitimate, free copy of your report so you can review it for accuracy. This will eliminate any surprises and reveal any mistakes that may be affecting your credit score.

Click here to obtain your current credit report.

Disclosures

If an online banking user is signed up for Billpay, one bill per month must be paid via S&T's online banking with billpay in order to avoid a fee.