If you have ever wondered the steps you have to take to improve your credit, we are here to define and talk about credit, credit cards, how to use them, how to leverage them not just for your real estate investment, but for your everyday life, and turn that into a habit.
What we are going to focus on are a couple of these components that will allow you to improve your credit. You’ve probably heard over and over again, that every time that you apply for a new credit you’re affecting your credit score by a tiny bit, by maybe a point or two, and that’s in fact, true. It is accurate, but you have to think of it more as the cost of the transaction. It is the cost of the transaction because when you open up a credit card, you’re also increasing your credit line at the same time.
The key factors that you’re going to take into consideration in this opportunity to improve your credit are the signup bonus points, and their usual points that you get every time you spend in your credit card.
“How to improve your credit and shift my spending habits”
First of all, you should know how your credit score is distributed. Your credit score is made up of the following:
35% representing timely payments.
30% meaning your debt.
15% going towards the length of your credit.
10% towards new credit.
10% is what makes up your credit mix.
Most of us typically spend money using cash, or we use our debit card, and none of those spending habits are going to help you build your credit or improve your credit, which is composed mainly on how timely you’re making those payments, and how much you have in terms of debt, how well you manage your debt. Let’s assume that every month you make $2,000 and then those $2,000 are everything that you can spend money on, so your red line is $2,000. You usually go to the ATM and you take $100 cash, just so you can have some cash in your pocket, or you can just use your debit card to pay for everything like your bills or your gas.
You’re going to stop using your debit card and instead, you’re going to use your credit card. You’re going to continue to pay for everything you normally spend in your debit card, but this from this time on, using your credit card.
Let’s say every month you’re going to spend $2,000 or whatever the amount is, you know what you’re going to spend, so that means the most you’re going to spend on your credit card is the equivalent of $2,000. You can use two credit cards, and you can still use three credit cards, you choose the distribution you want to give out to that credit card, but you’re going to cap it at $2,000.
How to improve your credit: A daily example
It is time for you to go to Walmart and you’re spending $200 in groceries, and that $200, rather than using your debit card, you’re going to use your credit card to pay for it. Then it’s time for you to fill up the tank and you spend, let’s say on average, $100 a month in gas. For the gas, you’re also going to use your credit card and then you’re going to continue to spend everything as long as you spend a maximum amount of $2,000.
How can you actually pay your rent with credit cards?
You can actually do that through a site that is called Plastiq. This is an excellent site that you can use to leverage your credit card. All you gotta do is to upload a copy of your lease, and then they’re going to review your lease. You’re going to take that same credit card, and you’re going to pay them, you need to tell them to send a check to your landlord and voila!, now you are spending money using your credit cards. At the end of every month, you’re going to take the same $2,000 that, it’s right now located in your checking account, and you’re going to use that and pay down the debt in your credit card.
You’re basically doing the same thing, but you’re using a different medium now. Rather than spending the money from your debit card, because your debit card it’s a link to your checking account and every time you swipe, you see the amount on your checking account go down. If you swipe it for $200, that means your checking account is going to show that you have $1,800 and then if you pump gas and you spend $100, then that means your checking account is going down to $1,700.
It’s essentially the same thing, but rather than using your debit card and seeing your checking account slowly go down, you’re going to use your credit card instead. You’re going to make sure you do not spend more than what you have. If your bank account says $2,000, all you’re going to spend, combined, on all credit cards, is $2,000. If you have only one credit card, then even easier for you to manage because that means you have a maximum of $2,000 to spend in that one credit card, but if you have multiple ones, just make sure that the lump sum of all the amounts that you spend in that month does not exceed $2,000.
When you do that, when you are shifting your regular expenses, and you’re paying it down with the amount in your checking account, you’re actually showing the banks and the lenders that you know how to make your payment. Because of course, you’re going to take the same exact $2,000 and you’re going to pay off your credit card at the end of each month, whenever they are due.
You’re going to pay that, so that way you are showing excellent behavior, that means 35%, it’s going towards good behavior. You’re building your credit that way, doing something that you normally do in the first place.
Then the second thing that you do is that you are showing the lenders that you also know how to manage that. Every month you’re spending $2,000, but at the same time you’re paying off that $2,000. That’s an excellent way to build your credit.
The majority of credit cards nowadays, they have what they call a signup bonus. Meaning that if you spend a certain amount of money in a period of time, you will receive a percentage of cashback or points from the bank. These points can be used as mileage, points that you can use as cashback to repay that debt. It’s a way for you to make money.
Most credit cards nowadays offer you points. For example:
- Chase Freedom, offering 1.5 cashback points every time you use their credit cards.
If you feel like this is too much for you to get started because maybe you’re more of a cash person, and you’re not used to it, just take $60 out in cash and have it in your wallet, so that way you feel that you’re having a safety net, but start shifting that behavior.
You’re making money out of your points for regular expenses, and you’re building excellent credit thanks to that.
On the Chase app, you will see an option that says: “See Rewards and Details or Redeem”. You’re going to click that and then it’s going to take you to the next screen which you will see on the left side, and it will give you multiple options. You have the option to use it as a cash back, to use it as a gift card, travel point, Apple or Amazon.
Every time you are considering cashing your points for cash back, make sure you send them straight to your checking account, your savings account, whatever account it is that you have linked to your credit card, and then use that money in your account to pay for the minimum amount due or whatever payment you want to make towards your credit card.
As a final reminder, never miss any payment.
Improve your credit with an useful tool: Plastiq
Let’s talk about Plastiq. how can you actually make the payment towards all these kinds of services? You can pay your legal services, insurance, you can pay your rent, you can even pay your tuition, your utilities, your mortgage, by having Plastiq sending payments directly towards your mortgage.
First, you have to create an account with Plastiq and it’s going to ask you who you want to pay. You have to add the name of your landlord. Then, you’re going to hit Continue and in essence, it’s going to ask you what you want to do.
The options are:
- Do you want to do a paper check?
- Do you want to do a bank transfer and deposit the money directly into your landlord’s account?
- Do you want to do a wire transfer?
It all depends on your landlord preferences. Most people usually pay rent using a paper check; You’re going to hit Continue, and you’re going to type in the address. After the address, you have to put what service does the recipient provide? In this case, you’re going to choose business or rent, commercial rent.
Then, you’re just going to hit Continue, and then you’re going to review the information, and you have to select “save this person as the recipient of your rent”, and then the next thing you do is just simply select that one recipient and send the check, and select the day that you want to send the check out to, or the date that you actually want your recipient, in this case, your landlord, to receive this check, and voila, you’re good to go.
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