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By Debbie Gregory.

Building a solid credit history and maintaining a high credit score can have a dramatic impact on your quality of life and on your Veteran Owned Business. Not only is a high credit score essential for things such as qualifying for a loan or obtaining a credit card, but it is also important for less obvious things such as obtaining cell phone service, renting a car, and maybe even a job.

Your credit score is based on your FICO score, which ranges from 300 to 850, and is based on these factors:

  • How much money you owe
  • The regularity of your payments
  • The types of your credit
  • The length of your credit history
  • How many credit requests you’ve made.

If you’re at the top with a score between 800 and 850, you have exceptional credit and are considered to be a prime candidate eligible for the lowest interest rates. This is your reward for having a long credit history without any late payments, as well as low balances on your credit cards.

If your score is between 740 and 799, you have very good credit and are considered to be financially responsible.

If your score falls between 670 and 739, you have good credit, and are around the same range as most Americans, who have an average FICO score of 704.

A score between 300 and 579 is a poor rating. And there are those who have no credit. But don’t despair, these scores can improve.

If you need to improve your score, avoid quick-fix efforts which are most likely to backfire. Raising your scores after a poor mark on your report or building credit for the first time will take patience and discipline. If you are having trouble making ends meet, contact your creditors and explain the situation. You may be able to obtain a time extension or fees waived.

Be responsible and don’t over extend yourself, consistently pay your bills on time, and limit the amount of credit you have requested so that you can get started on the right foot or rebuild a damaged credit score.

If you need to establish credit, talk to your bank and see if they will approve you for a small loan or a low-limit credit card. You can make the payments and pay if off improving your score. Many banks that might not approve you for a credit card will do so with a savings account acting as a security deposit with their institution. You can also start with a gas or retail store credit cards too.

Veteran and Military Business Owners Association, VAMBOA,