How Fast Will a Secured Card Build Credit?

How Long Does It Take to Build Credit With a Secured Credit Card?

It’s a chicken-and-egg scenario: You want to build credit, but most lenders won’t approve you for an account to help you build your score without a solid credit history. The good news is there are financial products available for those who are building their credit from scratch — a secured credit card being one of them.

Wondering how long does it take to build credit with a secured credit card? It depends on your situation. But if you’re worried about how fast a secured credit can build credit, we have some tips for how to get the most out of a secured card.

Recommended: Secured Credit Card vs. Unsecured Credit Card

What Is a Secured Credit Card?

A secured credit card is one that requires the cardholder to put down a deposit (basically, collateral) in order to open an account. The deposit typically acts as the credit limit. For example, if you make a $500 deposit when opening a secured credit card, the issuer grants you a $500 credit limit.

These types of credit cards are usually meant for those with no or limited credit history who need to build their credit history. Since these types of borrowers appear more risky — there’s no or limited evidence of their behavior as borrowers — secured credit cards reduce the risk for the lender.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

How Do Secured Credit Cards Work?

Secured credit cards require the cardholder to “secure” their debt by putting down a refundable deposit. The credit card issuer will use this amount as the credit limit. The card holder can then use the card as they would a more traditional credit card, which may be more in line with their idea of what a credit card is.

Cardholders can make purchases (and take out cash advances, depending on the terms of the card) up to the credit limit. Some secured credit cards even offer rewards, such as cash back or points toward travel.

At the end of each statement period, the issuer will send a credit card statement detailing all applicable transactions, the minimum amount due, and the payment due date. Your payment activity is typically reported to the credit bureaus — late payments could negatively impact your score.

Depending on your card issuer’s terms, you may be able to upgrade to an unsecured credit card (where you don’t need to put down a deposit) and get your deposit refunded if you can consistently make on-time payments for a predetermined amount of time.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due?

Building Credit From Scratch With a Secured Credit Card

When it comes to building credit from scratch with a secured credit card, you can typically do so in the following ways:

•   Establishing payment history: Getting a secured credit card means the issuer will report your payment activity to the credit bureaus, in addition to letting them know you opened an account. Since your payment history is one of the most important factors that determine your credit score, making on-time payments helps to establish that you’re a responsible borrower.

•   Maintaining a low credit utilization ratio: Your credit utilization is the percentage of the overall credit limit available to you on your revolving accounts (like a secured credit card) that you’re using. This is another major factor that’s used to calculate your credit score. A general rule of thumb is keeping your credit utilization at 30% or less. Meaning, if your credit limit is $400, don’t carry a balance of more than $120 on your card. A high credit utilization may signal to lenders that you’re not as responsible with debt, which could hurt your score.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

Pros and Cons of Building Credit Using a Secured Credit Card

Trying to decide if a secured credit card is the right route to build credit? Here are the pros and cons to consider:

Pros

Cons

•   Typically easier approval than other types of credit cards

•   Deposit is refundable

•   May be able to upgrade to an unsecured card after evidence of responsible borrower behavior

•   May offer rewards

•   Can carry high interest rates

•   Can’t use deposit amount for as long as you have the card open

•   May have to pay an annual fee

•   Credit limits are usually lower

Recommended: What is the Average Credit Card Limit?

Tips for Getting the Most Out of a Secured Credit Card

Using a secured credit card can be a great solution to establishing credit. While it’s hard to tell how fast a secured card will build credit, you can get the most out of using one by taking these suggestions into consideration.

Make On-Time Payments

Consistently paying your credit card bill on time will help you to establish a positive credit history. Late payments tend to come with late fees and penalties like additional interest, on top of negative remarks on your credit report.

Pay Your Balance in Full

While you’re only required to make the minimum payment, paying off your balance in full could lower your credit utilization ratio. Further, doing so will help you avoid paying interest on purchases.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

Watch Your Credit Utilization

You can technically spend up to your credit limit, but doing so could negatively impact your score. Instead, keep track of your balance and aim to keep it as low as you can — ideally at 30% off your overall credit limit or less.

Keep in mind that the credit limit for secured credit cards is usually low. To avoid a high credit utilization ratio, you might consider using the card for smaller purchases like subscription services or your daily latte. That way, you’re less at risk of nearing your credit limit.

Monitor Your Credit

Checking your credit report can help you to determine whether your payment activity is being correctly reported to the credit bureaus. This is essential as you’re building your credit from scratch. If there are any errors, it’s best to get those fixed as soon as possible.

Request an Upgrade

A secured credit card can be one of the first steps to accessing other types of credit. It’s helpful to think of the next steps — like upgrading to an unsecured credit card — as you continue to use your current card. Doing so will usually require making on-time payments consistently, and asking your card issuer how getting an upgrade works. While some automatically do it, others may require you to formally submit a request.

Alternative Ways to Build Credit

If you feel like a secured credit card isn’t for you, here are some alternatives to consider to help you build credit:

•   Get your rent, cell phone, and/or utilities payments reported to the credit bureaus. There are many services available if your landlord doesn’t offer this as an option.

•   Become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card.

•   Take out a credit builder loan, where you can borrow a small amount for the purposes of establishing credit.

•   Get a cosigner on a personal loan so you can more easily qualify, and then handle repayment responsibly.

•   Consider retailer, gas, or student credit cards, which are generally easier to qualify for.

•   Take out a secured loan, like an auto loan.

The Takeaway

Using a secured credit card to build credit can take time. Exactly how long it takes to build credit with a secured credit card will depend on your financial behavior. Your best course of action is to continue to show your issuer that you’re a responsible user and monitor your credit regularly to see where you stand.

If you’re responsible with your secured credit card, you can someday upgrade to an unsecured credit card, like the SoFi Credit Card. These cards tend to offer higher credit limits and more generous perks. With the SoFi credit card, for instance, cardholders can earn generous cash-back rewards on all eligible purchases.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

How do the credit bureaus see unsecured vs secured credit cards?

The credit bureaus see both types of credit cards as a type of credit account. As such, there is virtually no difference in how your activity gets reported.

How often should I use my secured credit card to build credit?

It’s generally a good idea to use your secured card regularly so that more activity gets reported to the credit bureaus. To keep your credit card utilization low, however, consider using the card for smaller purchases.

What are the best ways to use a secured credit card to build my credit?

In most cases, the best ways to use a secured credit card are to make consistent on-time payments, attempt to pay off the balance in full each month (or at the very least, make the minimum payment required), and keep an eye on your credit usage.


Photo credit: iStock/PeopleImages

1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

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Does Buying Jewelry Build Credit?

Guide to Buying Jewelry to Build Credit

They say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but did you know that you can also build credit with jewelry purchases? If you make your jewelry purchase using a payment plan or with a jewelry store credit card, then buying that watch, engagement ring, or diamond bracelet could help you build your credit score from scratch.

We’ll go through how to build credit by buying jewelry, including what options there are for buying jewelry on credit and what to consider before using a jewelry store credit card.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due?

Options for Buying Jewelry on Credit

By purchasing jewelry on credit, it’s possible to build your credit score. Here are a couple of ways that you can do so.

Jewelry Store Financing

Most major jewelry stores offer payment plans, where you pay for your jewelry purchase in installments. You might be able to take advantage of a promotional offer, which could offer interest-free financing for six to 12 months.

While an installment plan can help you build credit, you could end up paying interest on your purchase even with a promotional offer. If you’re late on payments or don’t pay off your balance in time, expect to pay significantly more. Further, to qualify for financing through a retailer, you’ll need stellar credit, which is a tall order if you’re building credit from scratch.

Alternatively, some retailers might allow you to finance your purchase with a buy now, pay later (BNPL) plan. A type of installment plan, a BNPL plan requires you to make an initial payment upfront, then divides the remaining balance into equal installments. You’ll then get billed to your credit card until you’ve paid off the amount owed in full.

As an example of how this works, let’s say you’re planning to propose and agree to engagement ring financing under a BNPL plan. Many plans offer a “pay-in-four” model, where your purchase is divided into four installments, each of which is due every two weeks. If the engagement ring costs $5,500 — which is the average engagement ring cost — you would pay $1,375 initially, then $1,375 every two weeks over the course of six weeks. The pay-in-four setup means you likely wouldn’t owe interest, though longer term plans may charge an annual percentage rate (APR).

Recommended: What is a Charge Card?

Jewelry Store Credit Cards

If you’re building credit from scratch or have credit that’s poor or fair, then a retailer credit card from a jewelry store might be a solid route to take. Many jewelry store credit cards only require fair credit in order to open an account.

You can also try getting a credit card from a department store that sells jewelry. Typically, retailer credit cards are easier to get approved for when you have less-than-great credit. However, note that they also typically come with higher interest, low credit limits, and some constraints, such as only being able to use the card with the retailer.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

Does Buying Jewelry Help Build Credit?

As mentioned, building credit with jewelry purchases is possible if you tap into a financing option that reports your payment activity to the major credit bureaus. Options that do so include financing through a jewelry store, using a jewelry or retailer credit card, or signing up for a buy now, pay later (BNPL) plan.

Of course, for any of those options to help you with establishing credit, you’ll need to stay on top of making your payments on time and in full. Also make sure you’re adhering to other responsible credit behaviors, such as avoiding maxing out your credit limit if you opt for a jewelry store credit card.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

How Jewelry Store Credit Cards Can Impact Your Credit Score

When you use a jewelry store credit card, your payments are reported to the credit bureaus. If you’re using your card responsibly and making payments on time, that activity can help to build your credit score. On the flipside, if you fall behind on payments or miss a due date, your credit score could suffer.

Payment history isn’t the only factor that will impact your credit score though. Applying for the credit card will result in a hard inquiry, which usually temporarily lowers your credit score by a bit. And you’ll want to think twice about canceling your card after making your jewelry purchase and paying it off — doing so could affect the length of your credit history, another factor that helps determine your credit score.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

How Jewelry Stores Convince You to Finance

Retailers can earn money on interest charges from financing, and potentially get you to make a more expensive purchase than you otherwise would have if you didn’t finance. As such, they have good reason to persuade you to finance that stunning piece of jewelry you’ve had your eye on.

Here are some tactics they might employ to get you to agree to a payment plan or use a retailer credit card:

•   Zero-interest promotional offers: By offering a no-interest promotional period on a payment plan or credit card, a jewelry store may lure you in.

•   In-store promotions: You might see a poster or flier while perusing the jewelry cases. This might motivate you to make your purchase now — as opposed to treating it as an item worth saving for — and therefore agreeing to financing.

•   Several financing options: The sales representative at the store might offer a few ways for you to finance that piece of jewelry, such as an installment plan, BNPL program, or by opening a jewelry store credit card.

Before agreeing to anything, make sure to ask questions to ensure you fully understand what you’d be getting into. You might even consider leaving the store and then coming back later, to give yourself time to think about your purchase and assess the financing options.

What to Ask Before Using a Jewelry Store Credit Card

If you’re considering opening a jewelry store credit card, here are some questions to ask yourself before submitting your application:

•   Can I afford to pay it off? While using a jewelry store credit card can help you build credit and make that large purchase affordable, do some simple math before moving ahead. Determine how long it will take to pay off the balance on the card and whether those payments realistically work within your current budget.

•   What’s the APR? If you’re using a credit card to cover your jewelry purchase, you might not be in a position to pay off your full balance when the due date hits. As such, you’ll want to be aware of the credit card’s annual percentage rate (APR) to determine how much interest will add to the total cost of your jewelry purchase.

•   Is there a promotional period? If you qualify for a no-interest promotional period, it’s important to know how long it will last and when the standard interest rate will kick in. Aim to pay off your purchase before that happens to avoid paying interest.

What to Avoid When Buying Jewelry With Credit

When financing jewelry to build credit, there are a few big things to keep in mind that can help you steer clear of financial trouble.

For starters, you’ll want to avoid putting too much on your card. Doing so can drive up your credit utilization ratio, which compares how much of your overall credit you’re using and plays a role in determining your credit score. For example, if you have one credit card with a credit limit of $1,000 and you’re buying a $600 piece of jewelry, that would push your credit utilization to 60%. It’s typically recommended to keep your credit utilization ratio below 30%.

Second, you’ll want to avoid opening a credit card with a promotional offer that’s too short for you to comfortably pay off your balance before it ends. If you’re still making payments when the standard interest rate kicks in, you could end up paying a lot in interest — and making your jewelry purchase that much more expensive.

You also want to be aware of whether you’re splurging on something that you might not have bought otherwise. While investing in precious metals might seem like a good move, putting something on credit creates the illusion that you can afford it. But in reality, the purchase could end up costing you even more in the long run, thanks to the addition of interest charges.

Recommended: What is the Average Credit Card Limit?

Other Ways to Build Credit

Besides buying jewelry to build credit, here are a few other ways that you can do so:

•   Get a secured card.

•   Take out a credit-builder loan.

•   Become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card.

•   Take out a personal loan.

•   Use an auto loan to finance your next car purchase.

•   Sign up to report your rent and utilities payments to the credit bureaus.

•   Open a credit card and then use it responsibly.

The Takeaway

If you’re curious about how to build credit with jewelry, consider financing your jewelry purchase by taking out a payment plan or by opening a jewelry store credit card. Before doing so, however, know that store payment plans usually require that you have strong or excellent credit.

Rest assured, buying jewelry isn’t the only way to build credit. Another option is to open a crest card that suits your spending habits and then use it responsibly. One option to consider is the SoFi Credit Card, which rewards on-time payments by lowering your APR when you make 12 monthly on-time payments of at least the minimum due. Plus, cardholders can earn generous cash-back rewards on all eligible purchases.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

Do you need good credit to finance jewelry?

If you’d like in-store financing for jewelry, such as an installment plan, then you typically need excellent credit. However, retail credit cards usually only require a fair credit score.

Are there jewelry stores that give credit?

Yes, major jewelry stores usually offer installment plans, and some might have a branded retail credit card that you can apply for.

Is it easy to get credit at jewelry stores?

Retail credit cards are usually easier to qualify for than other types of credit cards, even if you have fair credit. However, while they’re often easier to get approved for, they often come with higher APRs, low credit limits, and various restrictions.


Photo credit: iStock/pixelfit

1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

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Does Your Cable Bill Affect Your Credit Score?

Does Your Cable Bill Affect Your Credit Score?

Borrowing money to pay for goods and services, with the expectation to repay it, is considered purchasing on credit, and responsibly repaying that debt helps build your credit. However, your cable bill doesn’t quite affect your credit the same way. That’s because your payments on your cable bill generally are not reported to the credit bureaus — unless they’re seriously late.

In other words, if you’re responsible about paying your cable bill on time, your cable bill likely won’t affect your credit score, either positively or negatively. But not paying a cable bill can affect your credit, namely if your account becomes delinquent and gets sent to collections.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

What’s a Cable Bill?

A cable bill is a statement for an unpaid entertainment service or subscription, like a cable television subscription or package plan. It might include costs like the base price of the plan or service, along with other fees.

Cable bills fall under the “utility bills” category, which includes other household expenses, like electricity, water, and gas. However, unlike those essential utilities, cable service might be one of the first expenses to cut if you’re living on a budget.

How Not Paying Your Cable Bill Affects Your Credit

Your cable bill generally doesn’t affect your credit score — that is, unless you fail to pay it.

On-time cable bill payments won’t help you build credit, nor will they strengthen it. That’s due to the fact that cable servicers don’t traditionally report timely payments to the major credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion).

If you’ve missed multiple payments, servicers can do one of two things: charge off the unpaid balance or send it to collections. In both situations, your credit score will take a hit.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card?

How Do Late Cable Bill Payments Affect Credit Score?

Whether paying a cable bill late affects your credit depends on how late you are with payment. Typically, late payments are reported to credit bureaus when they’re at least 30 days overdue and are marked delinquent.

If you provide a late payment after your due date, but before it’s sent to the bureaus, the consequences are at your service provider’s discretion. However, if the payment was made after the late payment was reported, or you missed a payment entirely, your credit score will drop.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due?

How Long Does Late Cable Bill Payment Hurt Your Credit?

Late payments that are reported to the credit bureaus have a lasting effect, whether it was one indiscretion or a chronic occurrence. Late cable bill payments can stay on your credit report for up to seven years.

As such, if you’re finding yourself routinely struggling to put aside enough for your cable bill, you might look into methods for saving on streaming services.

How to Use Your Cable Bill to Build Credit

Paying bills with a credit card is a straightforward way to establish credit when you’re new to it. If you’ve been approved for your first credit card, you might consider using it to pay for your cable bill.

Then, when your credit card statement is due, make a manual payment. Even better, set up automated bill payments ahead of time so you never miss a bill.

As you make on-time payments on your credit card, your card issuer will routinely report your positive payment data to the credit bureaus. Over time, with responsible credit card repayment and keeping your revolving debt manageable, you can build your credit.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

Alternative Ways to Build Credit

If you’re credit invisible, meaning you’ve never had credit, or you want to take steps to mature your credit profile, here are a few other strategies to build credit.

•   Get a secured credit card. A secured card can offer a small credit line to new credit users. It requires a small deposit, which the card issuer mirrors for your credit limit. As you use your card up to this limit and repay it, the issuer reports your payment activity to the bureaus.

•   Get a retail card. Store-branded credit cards, such those from department stores, gas stations, or retail brands, can be easier to get than traditional credit cards. However, they usually have lower credit lines.

•   Make payments on time. When you do open a new credit card or installment loan, stay on top of monthly payments as they account for 35% of your credit score. Organize bills to identify when your due dates are, and consider enrolling in auto-pay to conveniently pay your bills on time.

•   Apply for an installment loan. This might include consumer loans, like a secured personal loan or an auto loan. If you’re a college student and need additional financial aid beyond scholarships, grants, or work-study, a student loan can help pay for your education and establish your credit profile. Always seek out federal student loans first, before a private student loan. Federal loans offer greater borrower protections and benefits.

•   Ask your landlord to report rent payments. Most landlords don’t report your on-time rental payment data to the credit bureaus. However, more third-party services, including Experian’s own Experian RentBureau, are making this possible. Ask your landlord if they are willing to share your good rent payment activity with credit bureaus for your credit file.

•   Become an authorized user. Ask someone with whom you have a close relationship, like a parent, grandparent, spouse, or sibling, if they will add you to their credit card account as an authorized user. Some lenders report good payment habits to the credit bureaus for all users on the account. Even if you’re not liable for making payments on the credit card, the reported data can establish your credit and help your score.

The Takeaway

Although your cable bill has little positive effect on your credit score, staying in good standing on the account can help keep your credit out of trouble. That’s because seriously overdue payments can show up on your credit report, where they’ll remain for up to seven years.

One way that you can get your cable bill payments to have an effect on your credit is by using your credit card to pay it. If you’re looking for a credit card to help cover everyday expenses like your cable bill, a SoFi credit card is a great place to start. It offers cash-back rewards on every dollar you spend on eligible purchases made with the card.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

Does paying cable bills on time build your credit score?

Cable providers typically don’t report on-time payments to the credit bureaus. Since this data isn’t shared with the bureaus, timely payments don’t directly affect your credit score.

Do late cable bill payments hurt your credit score?

Late cable bills affect credit scores if they’re marked as a charge-off by your provider or are sent to a debt collector. Accounts with these statuses are reported to credit bureaus and harm your score.

Are cable bill payments reported to a credit bureau?

Cable bill payments typically aren’t reported to credit bureaus, unless you’ve missed multiple payments that have been charged-off or are in collections.


Photo credit: iStock/damircudic

1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

Third-Party Brand Mentions: No brands, products, or companies mentioned are affiliated with SoFi, nor do they endorse or sponsor this article. Third-party trademarks referenced herein are property of their respective owners.

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Does Investing in Stocks Affect Your Credit Score?

Does Investing in Stocks Affect Your Credit Score?

While there are many things that determine your credit score — including your payment history, credit utilization, and the average age of your credit accounts — investing in stocks is not one of them.

That being said, while investing or opening an investment account does not directly affect your credit score, it’s possible for it to have an indirect effect. For instance, if you open a margin investment account that comes with a loan or line of credit, that debt may show up on your credit score. Additionally, your investment performance may have an impact on your overall financial picture, which can affect your ability to pay off your debts.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

How Does Trading Stocks Affect Your Credit Score?

There are many factors to consider before investing in stocks, like how to choose good investments or making sure that your overall finances are sound. The good news is that in most cases, you won’t need to worry about how trading stocks affects your credit score.

That’s because the amount of money you have in investment accounts (and how well you do at investing in stocks) does not usually show up on your credit report or impact your credit score. As such, investing isn’t a path toward establishing credit.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

What Happens to Your Credit Score if You Open a Brokerage Account?

If you’re looking to get started with investing in stocks by working with a broker, know that brokerage accounts are not typically reported to the major credit bureaus. This means that opening a brokerage account generally should not have any overall impact on your credit score.

One possible exception is if you open a margin account. Margin accounts allow you to borrow money and buy stocks for more than the actual cash you have in your account. Because some brokerages consider margin accounts as loans, there may be a credit check involved. This could have a small impact on your credit score, but it usually goes away after a few months.

How Does Opening an Investment Account Affect Your Credit Score?

Most investment accounts do not show up on your credit report. So, opening an investment account will generally not affect your credit score. Whether you are buying stocks with a credit card or investing by depositing cash into your account, your balance and investment performance will not impact your credit score.

That being said, opening an investment account and actively investing in stocks or other investments can indirectly affect your credit score. If you end up losing money in the stock market, it might negatively impact your ability to meet your other debt obligations. Should you have money tied up in your investment account and end up leaning more on your credit cards to cover costs or missing payments, that can have a negative impact on your credit score and hamper your efforts at building credit.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due?

How Making Investments May Affect Your Credit Score

There are many different ways to invest your money, and many different types of investments. But nearly all investment accounts do not show up in your credit score. So regardless of what type of investing you prefer — whether stocks, bonds, mutual funds, precious metals, or something else — your investing activity should not impact your credit score.

The Takeaway

Investing in stocks is one popular way that some people build wealth. While there are pros and cons to investing in stocks, it’s important to realize that investing in stocks — or most types of investments, for that matter — does not show up on your credit report and does not affect your score.

If you’re looking to build credit, one option might be applying for a cash-back rewards credit card like the SoFi credit card. If you’re approved for the SoFi credit card, you can earn unlimited cash-back rewards. You can use those rewards as a statement credit, invest them in fractional shares, or put them toward other financial goals you might have, like paying down eligible SoFi debt.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

Can I open a brokerage account with a bad credit score?

Yes, you can open a brokerage account with a bad credit score. Generally speaking, your broker will not issue a credit check to open a brokerage account. Additionally, in most cases, your brokerage account will not show up on your credit report. One exception may be if you apply for a margin account. Margin accounts can be considered loans, so your broker may not approve you for one if you have bad credit.

Can I open an investment account with a bad credit score?

There generally is not a credit check to open an investment account, so it is usually possible to open an investment account even if you have a bad credit score. Further, most investment accounts will not show up on your credit report, help you build credit, or impact your credit score.

Do stocks show up on your credit report?

In most cases, stocks (as well as bonds, mutual funds, and other investments) do not show up on your credit report. Your account information, balance, and investment performance do not usually impact your credit score.


Photo credit: iStock/tdub303

1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details, please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

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Do Credit Unions Help You Build Your Credit?

Do Credit Unions Help You Build Your Credit Score?

While joining a credit union likely won’t affect your credit score in and of itself, some of the financial products offered by credit unions can have an impact on your score. For example, a credit union may offer lower interest rates on loans, which can help you keep an affordable monthly payment that’s easier to make on time. You also may be more likely to get approved for a credit union credit card than one from a bank, and responsibly using that card could help you build your credit score.

If you’re considering a credit union membership in the hopes that a credit union can help build credit, it helps to first understand how you can accomplish this. That way, you can better determine if joining a credit union is worthwhile for you.

Recommended: What is the Average Credit Card Limit?

What Is a Credit Union?

A credit union is a non-profit financial organization that exists to serve its members, who are also its owners. This can mean that credit unions are able to offer higher interest rates on savings and lower interest rates on loans and credit cards, as well as charge fewer fees.

Credit unions can offer many of the same financial services and products as banks and online lenders, though their lineup and number of locations can be a bit more limited. To gain access to a credit union’s products, you’ll need to become a member, which entails meeting certain requirements. Credit unions often target certain communities or regions.

Recommended: What is a Charge Card?

Credit Unions vs Banks vs Online Lenders

Here’s a brief look at how credit unions compare with both banks and online lenders:

Credit Unions

Banks

Online Lenders

Not-for-profit Usually for-profit Usually for-profit
Typically offer lower interest rates on loans than banks or online lenders Typically charge higher interest rates on loans than credit unions Typically charge higher interest rates on loans than credit unions
May offer an array of basic financial products Often offers a full spectrum of financial products and services May offer an array of basic financial products

What Is a Credit Union Credit Card?

Many credit unions partner with credit card issuers to issue a co-branded credit card. The types of credit cards that are offered by credit unions vary widely depending on the particular credit union. They can include rewards credit cards that offer points or cash back or secured cards designed for those looking to build their credit.

Recommended: Does Applying For a Credit Card Hurt Your Credit Score?

What Credit Score Is Typically Needed for a Credit Union Credit Card?

Each credit union is owned by its respective members, so there isn’t a set credit score that’s needed for a credit union credit card. Rather, each credit union sets its own parameters for the credit score and other financial requirements for approval.

That being said, you may have better luck getting approved at a credit union compared to a traditional bank, even if you are still building your credit.

How a Credit Union Credit Card Can Help Build Your Credit Score?

Here are some of the ways a credit union credit card could help you to build your credit score.

Potentially Easier Approval

Getting approved for and opening a credit card or loan is key to establishing credit. However, it can be challenging to get credit if you’ve never had it before. Because credit unions are owned by their members, you may find it easier to get approved for a new credit card. And if you are denied, it may be easier to talk with a customer service representative.

Lower Interest Rates

While this isn’t necessarily true across the board, many credit unions offer lower interest rates on debt products like loans and credit cards. Having a lower interest rate can help you build your credit score by making it easier to stay on top of paying down debt.

Recommended: How to Avoid Interest On a Credit Card

Fewer Fees

Along with lower interest rates, it ‘s common for credit unions to charge fewer fees than traditional banks or other lenders. Since credit unions are not-for-profit, they don’t need to charge some of the fees that banks and other financial institutions do. Paying fewer fees can help you keep more of your money in your pocket to pay down debt and save for the future.

Automatic Payments Option

Many credit unions allow you to set up automatic payments on your credit union credit card account. Additionally, most credit unions offer different checking and savings account options, so you can easily pay your credit card from your checking account. This setup helps avoid missing payments, which can help to build your credit score, given one of the best tips for building credit is to pay your debt obligations in full and on time, each and every month.

Recommended: When Are Credit Card Payments Due?

Are Credit Unions Safe?

Just like money in banks is insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), the funds you keep in credit union accounts are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). The NCUA is an organization of the federal government that insures up to $250,000 per account that you have at a federally insured credit union.

Still, you’ll also want to take simple steps to keep your credit union account safe online, such as verifying transactions and choosing strong passwords.

Is It Worth it to Join a Credit Union?

Joining a credit union can be a wise financial move, especially if you find one that is a good fit for you and that offers the products and services you need. Many people enjoy being a partial owner of a credit union rather than just being one more customer at a for-profit bank, as credit unions tend to be more community-oriented. And the good news is that switching banks is usually not that difficult.

Alternative Ways to Build Your Credit Score

Joining a credit union won’t help build your credit score on its own, but it can be a good first step toward building your credit. Here are a few other ways that you can build your credit score:

•   Use a credit card cosigner to increase your approval odds.

•   Apply for a secured credit card, which requires making a deposit.

•   Get a traditional credit card, like the SoFi credit card.

•   Review your credit report regularly for any inaccurate information.

•   When you buy your next vehicle, use an auto loan and then responsibly make payments.

•   Take out and responsibly use a personal loan.

•   Become an authorized user on the account of someone with strong credit.

Recommended: Tips for Using a Credit Card Responsibly

The Takeaway

Credit unions are nonprofit financial institutions that offer many of the same financial products as banks and other online lenders. But unlike banks, credit unions are owned by their members, which can help keep interest rates high and fees low. Joining a credit union won’t help you build your credit by itself, but taking advantage of credit union perks and financial products may help you build your credit.

Another way to build credit can be by applying for a credit card like the SoFi credit card. If you’re approved for a cash-back rewards credit card with SoFi, you can earn unlimited cash-back rewards. You can use those rewards as a statement credit, invest them in fractional shares, or put them toward other financial goals you might have, like paying down eligible SoFi debt.

The SoFi Credit Card offers unlimited 2% cash back on all eligible purchases. There are no spending categories or reward caps to worry about.1



Take advantage of this offer by applying for a SoFi credit card today.

FAQ

Will joining a credit union improve my credit score?

Joining a credit union in and of itself will not improve your credit score, since the fact that you are a member of a credit union does not usually appear on your credit report. However, credit unions offer many financial products, including loans and credit cards. Making responsible use of some of these credit union offerings can help you build your credit.

What are the disadvantages of joining a credit union?

Because credit unions are owned by their members, you generally can’t simply open up an account. Instead, you may have to belong to a specific group or pay a small membership fee to get an account. Many credit unions are also smaller than most banks, so they may not offer all of the financial products you’d find at a larger bank.

Will credit union credit card payments show up on my credit report?

Most credit card payments — including credit union credit card payments — are reported to the major credit bureaus. Paying your statement balance on time and keeping your balance low can be great ways to help build your credit.


Photo credit: iStock/sshepard

1Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

1See Rewards Details at SoFi.com/card/rewards.

Members earn 2 rewards points for every dollar spent on purchases. No rewards points will be earned with respect to reversed transactions, returned purchases, or other similar transactions. When you elect to redeem rewards points into your SoFi Checking or Savings account, SoFi Money® account, SoFi Active Invest account, SoFi Credit Card account, or SoFi Personal, Private Student, or Student Loan Refinance, your rewards points will redeem at a rate of 1 cent per every point. For more details, please visit the Rewards page. Brokerage and Active investing products offered through SoFi Securities LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC. SoFi Securities LLC is an affiliate of SoFi Bank, N.A.

Disclaimer: Many factors affect your credit scores and the interest rates you may receive. SoFi is not a Credit Repair Organization as defined under federal or state law, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act. SoFi does not provide “credit repair” services or advice or assistance regarding “rebuilding” or “improving” your credit record, credit history, or credit rating. For details, see the FTC’s website .

Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

The SoFi Credit Card is issued by SoFi Bank, N.A. pursuant to license by Mastercard® International Incorporated and can be used everywhere Mastercard is accepted. Mastercard is a registered trademark, and the circles design is a trademark of Mastercard International Incorporated.

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