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You're never too young to think about credit
April 22, 2015
There are all kinds of "credit"—you can take all the credit, give credit where
credit is due, or earn extra credit in class.
There's also another type of credit—financial credit—that deals with borrowing money. You probably borrow money from friends and family. Pretty soon you might be interested in borrowing from your credit union.
Whether or not you can do that will depend on a special kind of grade. It's called a "credit score."
What's a credit score?
Your credit score is a lot like the As, Bs, and Cs on your report card. Just like your grades show what kind of student you are, your credit score shows what kind of money manager you are.
Your credit score is a three-digit number that helps lenders decide whether or not to lend you money, and at what price.
That number is based on mathematical formulas that use your habits and borrowing history to find out how likely you are to pay back a loan.
Here's an example: Think of all the times you've borrowed a dollar from a friend or parent that you didn't pay back.
If all of that unpaid money appeared on your credit report, what would it look like?
Your credit history shows how much money you've borrowed, how much you owe, and how well you've done at paying it back. It follows you wherever you go and can change over time. Your credit score helps lenders determine how dependable you are. The higher your score, the more options you will have.
Even though you're young, it's important to start thinking about credit scores.
Why should you care?
If you start thinking about your future now, and practice good habits, you'll be ready when it's time to start building your credit and take out loans.
A good credit score means freedom to buy what you want and freedom of knowing that you're covered in case of a big expense.