FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Good Credit Is Key to a Solid Financial Future
ICBA Offers Tips To Help Consumers Establish and Maintain Good Credit
Washington, D.C. (January 3, 2011)-Consumers may want to add one more resolution to their lists this year-to establish and maintain good credit. Having good credit is essential to qualify for a mortgage or finance the purchase of a car, and it often helps determine the rate you will receive on any type of loan. The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) urges consumers to practice smart saving and spending habits now as we kick off the new year to help establish good credit that will serve as the foundation for a more secure financial future.
"Having a good credit history is key to any financial plan," said Jim MacPhee, ICBA chairman and CEO of Kalamazoo County State Bank, Kalamazoo, Mich. "Establishing good spending and saving habits now, and sticking with them, is critical when times are tough and can go a long way toward helping you achieve your long-term financial goals."
ICBA offers consumers tips on how to establish and maintain a good credit history.
- If you are just beginning to establish your credit history, open a checking account and keep careful track of your balance.
- Open a savings account and contribute to it regularly.
- Develop and follow a budget. Make sure to account for both fixed, variable and non-monthly expenses, such as insurance and taxes.
- Pay all your bills on time, including utilities and even gym fees and parking tickets.
- Use debit and credit cards for convenience and safety, but not to overspend. Monitor the activity on your account and review statements carefully. Be sure that you understand the terms and any fees that may apply.
- Avoid offers to open several different credit cards, and never use one credit card to make payments on another.
- Order a free copy of your credit report. Under federal law, you can get a free report from each of the three national credit reporting companies every 12 months at www.annualcreditreport.com or by calling (877) 322-8228. Read your report carefully and correct any errors.
- Build an emergency fund equal to at least six months of living expenses. If the unexpected happens, you will still be able to pay budgeted expenses instead of falling behind.
"A great resource to help get you started on the road to establishing good credit is to develop a relationship with your local community bank," MacPhee said. "We work with our customers every day and throughout their lifetimes to provide financial services and help them understand how to manage their finances."
For more information and to find a community bank near you, visit www.icba.org.