"More and more millennials are making progress in raising their credit scores. But qualifying for affordable borrowing rates is still a tough challenge, reports Consumer Reports."
"Recent data from the credit bureau Experian found that the average FICO score for millennials (those between ages 23 and 38) jumped from 647 in the second quarter of 2014 to 668 in the same quarter of 2019."
"That places the typical millennial’s credit score in “fair” category, within striking distance of the “good” category, which starts at 670, according to Experian. A good credit rating will let you qualify for a loan at a decent interest rate."
"Without a good credit rating, many millennials face financial barriers. Nearly 60% said they had been rejected for at least one financial product, such as a credit card or loan, because of low credit scores, a recent Bankrate.com survey found."
"Here are steps you can take to get the best possible credit score."
"Sign Up for a Starter Card
For younger millennials, a simple way to start building credit may be to become an authorized user on their parents’ credit cards or those of other family members. Or if you're still in college, you may qualify for a student credit card with low spending limits. Recent grads may be offered a new card."
"Another option may be to sign up for an introductory offer from a retailer, who may give you a discount just for enrolling. But be aware that many store credit cards carry high interest rates, so you may run into trouble if you don’t pay off the balance each month, says Matt Schulz, chief industry analyst at CompareCards.com."
"If you have trouble qualifying for a credit card, perhaps because of a poor credit score or short credit history, consider a secured credit card. Offered by most major issuers, these cards require you to put down a deposit, typically $200 or more, to protect the issuer in case you don’t pay. Spending is limited each month to the amount you have on deposit."
"Pay Down Your Balance
Managing your credit card balance consistently has the biggest impact on your credit score. That includes limiting how much you charge, as well as making timely payments."
"If you charge a lot on your cards relative to your credit limit, that can hurt your credit score. As a guideline, aim to carry balances that account for no more than 30% of your overall credit limit, says Schulz."
"You also need to keep close track of your payment due dates. Making payments on time is the single largest factor in your credit score, accounting for 35%, according to FICO."
"Having your credit card payments automatically deducted from your bank account each month is a great way to make sure you don't miss one, says Rob Oliver, a fee-only certified financial planner in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Get more tips on keeping up with your credit card payments.)"
"If you find yourself running short of cash and can’t pay off the entire balance, be sure to make at least the minimum payment. "Missing a payment is much worse for your score than not paying off the entire balance," says Oliver."
To get started on building credit, millennials need to understand how the financial world works. They’ll turn to digital media for information and advertisers can reach them there. Within the last month, according to AudienceSCAN, over half used a search engine to research a product or service they were considering, but they're 29% more likely than others to never go past the first page of search results. They're also 37% more likely than others to find advertising on their mobile apps useful and, last year, about half took action after either seeing ads on their mobile smartphone apps or receiving ads via text. Also within the last year, this demographic was driven to action by TV ads, direct mail ads, email ads and ads on daily deals sites such as Groupon.
AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. In addition, AdMall contains industry profiles on credit card companies and banks (both regional/national and community, as well as lead lists at the local level. Media companies, sales reps and agencies can access this data with a subscription to AdMall from SalesFuel.