New to the world of credit?

Understand your credit history

There are defining moments in your life: receiving exam results, choosing a university, performing your first levitation and applying for credit. Gone are the days of donning your best robes and sitting sheepishly in a bank manager’s office while they decide your fate. These days there are loads of options to explore – but sometimes that can make things even more bamboozling.

For many young people, entering the world of credit can be a scary thought, but fear not – my words of wisdom are like jewels scattered along the path to credit joy. Pull up a cushion, cheeky chops.

What’s credit?

Credit is borrowing money. Companies will offer you a certain amount, with agreed conditions such as how much you’ll pay back and by when. There are a bunch of different options, including credit cards, personal loans, mortgages and overdrafts. It’s important to do your research and find out which is the best option for you. Allow me to conquer confusion.

 

Credit Cards:

Perfect if you only want to borrow over a short amount of time. Don’t over soak your lentils, my friend  – only borrow as much as you need and make sure you can pay it back within the agreed interest free period.

 

Personal Loans:

If you want to borrow over a longer period, or for a higher amount, this may be good karma for you. You need to be sure you can pay back the agreed monthly installments and unlike a credit card, there’s often a minimum amount you can borrow.

 

Overdrafts:

If you need a small amount and can pay it back quickly, check out the overdraft options on your bank account. You need to get an overdraft approved by your bank or you may end up paying fees that transcend believability.

 

Other credit options:

Depending on what you are looking to finance, there are lots of other options out there. Car dealerships, travel companies and stores often offer finance options at competitive rates too. Seek and you will find.

 

How do I start applying for credit?

Once you have decided on the best option for you, make sure you have the following information to hand:

  • Proof of address – you’ll probably be asked to provide a recent bill or statement
  • Bank account details
  • Your employer’s name and address
  • Information on any payments you already make e.g. your phone bill.

Remember, being registered on the electoral roll and having a good credit score will considerably increase your chances of getting approval for most forms of credit in the UK. Want to know more? See my Credit Reports section and be enlightened.

What should I avoid?

It’s not a good idea to apply for loads of credit in a short space of time. This leaves a ‘footprint’ on your credit history, so cool your boots. Lenders will think that that you are desperate for money and make them less keen to take the chance you’ll pay it back. Also, being financially tied to someone with bad debt is a bad move (so make sure they’re worth it).

All in all, if you make sure you don’t borrow more than you need and keep up your monthly repayments, getting credit can be a joyous way to get the things you want now. YOLO and all that.

Peace and loans,

The G.

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