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Credit & Debt Basics

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Credit cards and other forms of debt can be an essential part of your financial toolbox, but you must exercise care when using credit and taking on debt. Find out the difference between good debt and bad debt, and learn how to establish credit and maintain a good credit score.

1. Establishing Credit

Before you can be considered for a credit card, car loan, or even a mortgage, you need to have an established credit history. While it isn't too difficult to establish credit, you want to make sure that you're establishing the right kind of credit so that you can maintain a high credit score.

2. The Importance of Your Credit Score

Whether you like it or not, your credit history will follow you for your whole life. Your credit score is one of the primary factors that is used in determining whether or not a lender will extend you credit or a loan, and it can also play a significant role in determining your interest rate.

3. Improve Your Credit Score

Do you have some negative items on your credit score holding you back? No need to worry. There are plenty of actions you can take to begin improving your score. While there isn't an instant cure, if you understand what makes up your score, you can begin to improve it today.

4. Getting Out of Debt

Having trouble making and headway on your credit cards? Sending in those credit card payments and pulling yourself out of debt can seem like an impossible challenge, but there is a way out. One of the best things you can do is to pay more than the minimum payment each month, even if it is only a few extra dollars.

5. Student Loans

A college education is more expensive today than ever before, and many young people come away from college with a mountain of student loan debt. If you require financial assistance to attend college, make sure you're taking advantage of every financial aid option available to you, and understand how your student loans work.

6. Credit Cards for Business

With credit cards so easy to obtain, many new entrepreneurs turn to credit cards to help finance their new business. Credit cards can be a great tool to assist with making business purchases, but they should not be used to entirely finance your new idea.
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