The past year has been one for the history books. Between a pandemic, an economic crash, and a new President of the United States, there hasn’t been a year like 2020 in a very long time.
With that said, 2021 isn’t quite yet back to normal. We still have a long way to go. In the meantime, though, there are still students like you who are trying to get their lives started during an unprecedented time in world history.
Part of starting your life is building up a credit history, and although banks aren’t as fast and loose with money as they were during the 2010s, there are still ways that students can get started with building their credit in 2021.
What Is Credit, And Where Does It Come From?
Credit doesn’t just refer to a 3 digit number, or a credit score. Instead, credit is just the ability to borrow money or use certain goods or services. The idea of an individual having credit dates back to antiquity, where some individuals were seen as more creditworthy than others based on their reputation and their status.
As we started to modernize and more people started to demand access to credit, there was a need for a standard way of judging creditworthiness. The first credit bureau, Retail Credit Company based in Atlanta, was the first company to collect information about people to give to lenders to help them make decisions on who to lend money to.
Over time, more opportunities for lending arose as the American people became more confident in the economy. Mortgage lending grew substantially with the establishment of Fannie Mae in 1938 and with help of the GI Bill in 1944. The GI Bill gave World War 2 veterans the ability to get a mortgage guaranteed by the federal government.
The first credit card was launched in 1950 as a charge card, and slowly the idea of a revolving credit card became much more mainstream. The Fair Credit Reporting Act of 1970 made it illegal to collect information on race, sexuality, and disability which had been used to discriminate against would-be lenders. More credit bureaus began to take form, including TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian (or the big 3 credit bureaus today).
Later, in 1989, the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) partnered with the Big 3 credit bureaus to create a 3-digit number to represent creditworthiness, now known as a FICO Score or a credit score.
Why Is Building Credit So Important For Students?
Building credit is important for anyone who wants to have the ability to borrow money to meet their financial goals. Good credit is highly beneficial, and people with good credit are able to get lower interest rates, larger borrowing amounts, and access to more goods and services provided by lenders and card issuers.
The biggest area where having good credit helps is for mortgages. If you want to own a home someday, chances are you’re going to have to take out a mortgage to buy it. A mortgage is debt borrowed in order to purchase a piece of real estate, most commonly used by consumers to purchase single-family homes. In order to get a mortgage, you need to demonstrate ability to pay (which is usually based on your debt-to-income ratio), solvency (based on your debt-to-equity ratio) and creditworthiness (which they check based on your credit history and your credit score).
As a student, you might have a significant amount of student debt. Building good credit can allow you to consolidate or refinance your student loans later, which can help you get lower interest rates and even lower payments. This could help you grow your savings, which can then be used for a down payment on a home after you’ve cleared out your student debt!
How Can A Student Build Credit?
Take advantage of student credit card deals and use your card responsibly.
Students are offered credit cards all the time, and banks use student credit card and banking deals to get new customers. Don’t take the first student credit card that shows up in the mail: do your research. Go to Google and find out which credit card offers provide you with the best terms.
More importantly, you want to use your credit card responsibly. Using a credit card responsibly entails doing the following:
- Use your credit card to pay for things that you CAN afford, not things you CAN’T afford.
- Don’t charge more than 30% of your available balance, if you can help it.
- Don’t miss a payment. Ever. It’s better to pay the minimum payment than to pay nothing at all.
- Pay off your balance in full every month. This allows you to avoid interest charges.
As a student, we highly recommend you avoid putting large purchases on your credit card.
Pay down your student debt while you’re in school.
Many students decide to work while they’re in school in order to help pay for textbooks, living expenses, and entertainment. However, one great way to build credit early is to start making payments toward your student debt while you’re still studying.
You don’t have to put a lot of money toward your debt while in school. Just pay what you can afford. These payments will lower your overall debt burden later in life and will help you build a good credit history even before you graduate.
Learn financial discipline habits early.
Financial discipline is one of those things that’s based not on laziness or morality, but on habit. People with good financial discipline have the habits necessary to keep themselves above water, even during difficult times. It’s their habits that allow them to withstand times of reduced income.
Good financial habits include:
- Setting aside money for savings every month.
- Keeping a living budget by keeping track of expenses as they compare to income.
- Paying off credit cards in full each month.
- Avoiding unnecessary consumer debt.
- Keeping track of credit card transactions and spending.
If you don’t have an income, you won’t be able to pay off large credit card bills or save money. Instead, keep track of your spending and come up with ways to reduce it.
Learn more about good financial discipline habits!
Is it Advisable to Pay Off Collection Items?
The majority of consumers appear to believe that if they pay off collections, their credit scores will improve and become better. A shocking truth has emerged: this is not actually the case. Just so you’re aware, negative items can remain on your credit reports for a maximum of seven years, and your credit score will only begin to improve once the negative item has been removed.
What are Collection Accounts and How Do They Work?
Collection accounts are entries on a credit report that indicate that a debtor has fallen behind on previous obligations. Original creditors may have sold the defaulted debts to a debt buyer or may have assigned the debts to collection agencies after the default occurred. It should come as no surprise that the collector’s ultimate goal is to work on the client’s behalf in order to have the defaulted debt collected from the debtor or as much of it as possible.
The majority of the time, these collection accounts are reported to credit reporting agencies. According to the FCRA, or Fair Credit Reporting Act, these are permitted to remain on credit reports for up to seven years from the date of the initial debt’s first delinquency.
The Consequences of Paying Off Collections on Your Credit Score
The ramifications of completely paying off collection accounts will not disappear in an instant, however. You will still need to wait until the statute of limitations has expired before this information can be removed from your credit report. As previously stated, this will typically take approximately seven years. Fortunately, information from the past will have a smaller impact on your credit score.
Despite the fact that paying off collections will not improve your credit score, there are several ways in which you can take advantage of this situation:
Credit card or medical bills can result in debt collection lawsuits, which you can avoid if you take the proper steps.
As a result, you will be able to avoid paying interest fees to debt collectors. A debt collector is constantly selling and buying accounts, and he or she may continue to charge you fees and interest on the accounts that have been purchased.
In the event of a settlement or payment in full, the credit report will reflect this. When it comes to lenders, it can have a positive impact because they are likely looking beyond your credit score and instead of looking at your credit history and other factors. Comparing those who successfully repay an extremely past due account to those who never managed to do so, the former will demonstrate greater financial responsibility.
You will eventually be able to benefit from the most recent FICO Score model. Despite the fact that the FICO 9 is still in the early stages of implementation, the vast majority of lenders will eventually adopt it. Medical bills will be given less weight in this model, and paid accounts will be completely ignored when it comes to collections.
According to the law, the majority of negative credit information, such as collections, should be removed from credit reports over time. The fact remains that attempting to settle or pay off your debt as quickly as possible will be in your best interests. Not to mention the fact that, in contrast to older models, the newer models for credit scoring do not take into consideration collections with zero balances. If you don’t think you’ll be able to handle it on your own, you can always enlist the assistance of professionals who can simplify the entire process for you.
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How Bad is an Eviction and How Long Does it Stay on Your Credit?
Every time someone mentions a record during an eviction, what they are really referring to is a background check as well as your credit report and history. In general, an eviction will appear on your credit report for up to seven years.
That is correct; you read that correctly. It will be there not for 7 months, but for as long as 7 years, according to some estimates. Eviction is, therefore, a major issue in this community, and it is treated as such. Landlords, in particular, are wary of renting to tenants who have a history of evictions on their records. If you are ever evicted, this fact will follow you wherever you go for the next seven years, no matter how hard you try to forget it.
For landlords to know that you have been evicted in the past, there are two ways to find out.
If the reason for your eviction was non-payment of rent, your landlord may have forwarded this account to a collection agency, which will then appear on your credit report as a result of your actions.
When the courts were involved in your eviction, the case judgment is considered public record, and landlords who use tenant-screening services will be able to see this information if they conduct a background check on the tenant in question.
Is it possible to have an eviction removed from your credit report?
Anything that is accurate on your credit report will remain on your report for seven years. If there is ever a mistake, you will have the opportunity to contest the decision.
This error will be removed from your credit report if you can provide proof to the credit reporting agency that a mistake was made. If you were successful after being served with an eviction notice, you should provide proof of your victory to the reporting agency. There are landlords who will attempt to evict people even if they do not have a legitimate or acceptable reason to do so.
How Can You Find a Place to Rent if You Have an Eviction on Your Credit Report?
It is important to understand that just because you have an eviction on your credit report does not necessarily mean that you will be unable to rent for the next seven years. However, even though your report contains an eviction, there are still several options available to you for finding a place to live in the meantime.
Take the initiative.
Inform the property manager or landlord of your intention to evict them prior to submitting your application and explain your circumstances to them. Even if the eviction took place years ago and you have maintained a good tenant record since then, there is a chance that the landlord will rent to you again.
Look for someone who will sign on as a cosigner for you.
It is possible for you to obtain a rental unit if you have a co-signer who has good credit and can vouch for you. Your parent or another person with good credit can serve as your co-signer. If, on the other hand, a payment is not made on time, your landlord has the right to and will almost certainly ask for the money from your cosigner.
Pay in advance if possible.
A high probability of obtaining a rental unit exists if the landlord recognizes your willingness to pay the rental value in full upfront for a period of 3 to 6 months.
What’s the bottom line?
It is preferable to avoid being evicted in the first place if you want to avoid having any eviction information on your credit report.
Why did House Prices Go Up in 2020 During the Pandemic
The pandemic brought with it a lot of surprises, one of them being the rise in house prices. The US economy plummeted with millions of Americans finding themselves out of work and without food. No one would have predicted that at the time when times were hard for everyone, home prices would become overheated, mortgage rates would skyrocket, and the supply for houses would not meet the demands and consumer confidence in the housing market was reducing. The housing market was booming.
Right at the beginning of the pandemic, no one was willing to buy a house or even sell one. This was because of the uncertainties of the time brought about by Covid-19. In a span of a few months, most day-to-day activities were confined to the available properties. Houses became a key asset and prices began to rise.
The US real estate market in context
The American real estate market suffered a huge blow as a result of the 2008 financial crisis. The recession saw the prices of houses fall by a big margin and the world’s largest real estate market was affected in ways no one would have imagined. This was as a result of subprime mortgages that were given in large numbers to help as many Americans as possible to become homeowners. Homeowners found themselves mortgages that were higher than the value of their houses. By 2013, the market was showing signs of recovery. From 2018 to 2019, the market began to fall slightly.
For many Americans, owning a home is very important to them as it allows them to build up their wealth, make it easy for them to access credit, and be able to save more as they no longer have to pay rent. A large percentage of homeowners rely on mortgages to acquire homes after raising the down payment from their savings or with money from their families. It was expected that the pandemic would lead to foreclosures especially since the economy took a downward spiral at the start of the pandemic. Many people also lost their source of income and were unable to keep up with their mortgage payments.
The most expensive real estate in the USA is found in San Francisco, California. San Francisco has a booming economy fueled by the presence of tech companies like Apple, Facebook, Intel, and Tesla that have their headquarters in the nearby Silicon Valley. The city also has been at the forefront in matters progressive culture which attracts more people to relocate to it. As a result of the thriving tech economy that brings billions of dollars into the city, and rising housing demand, the city is the most expensive place to buy a house in the US. On average, the price per square foot is $1,100.
Why do house prices go up in general?
The value of a house is usually expected to depend on the demand for living in a particular area, but things like recessions and pandemics are known to have an impact that can either be positive or negative. House prices go up when the supply does not meet the demand. One of the key factors that affect the supply has to do with the regulations that restrict the number of housing units that can be built. For example in a single-family zone, it’s illegal to build townhouses or apartments, or condos on any spaces designated for single units and parking minimums must be met. This forces contractors to make provisions for parking spaces even in places where it’s unwarranted.
Some local governments allow groups of people to block developments they feel will have a negative impact on the overall value of the entire estate. These local zoning regulations are making it impossible for most Americans to move to better estates due to the shortage of housing.
Why did house prices go up during the pandemic?
The price for houses is determined by the existing demand and supply dynamics. The fewer the number of houses available, the higher the prices for the available units would be. If the number of buyers is fewer, then the house prices would be lower. The prices went up because the pandemic affected both supply and demand. A lot of people were in a rush to take advantage of the falling mortgage rates which made it easier to acquire homes at a cheaper price.
As a result of the falling mortgage rates, houses were not staying on the market for long. Among those who bought the homes were first-time homebuyers or those who were buying a second home. These put a lot of pressure on the market as were not putting another home on the market as they took one out of it. In some instances, others chose to refinance their mortgages based on the lower rates instead of acquiring a new home.
Because of the pandemic, people who had plans of listing their homes did not do so and those who had listed their homes took them off the market. As a result of the social distancing rules at the height of the pandemic, not many people were willing to show their houses.
Home developers did not anticipate a surge in the demand for housing during the pandemic. A number of them had let go of their employees and had shut down. At the same time, prices for materials like lumber also added to the construction costs alongside the scarcity of skilled workers.
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