Carmen Cotto-Rivera
Real Estate Broker Salesperson

"Love Where You Live, and Live Where You Love"

Vylla Home 
office: 856-206-0413

Cell:  201-835-5650




   "Love Where You Live, and Live Where You Love"

Vylla Home - office: 856-206-0413

cell:  201-835-5650



Real Estate Broker Salesperson

Why Having a Credit Card Helps Your Credit

Why Having a Credit Card Helps Your Credit

Having a high credit score is important all the time, whether you are buying a home anytime soon or not.  Your FICO score and credit report are so vital to getting any type of loan, and this series will give you the financial strategies you need to get your credit score as high as possible.

If one of your goals is not to use a credit card, then you might be hurting, not helping your credit score!

Seems counterintuitive, but it’s true. Most people may not realize that having, and using, a credit card actually helps your credit score.

How’s that, you might ask?

Because in order to qualify for any type of loan, a mortgage included, you need to have established “credit history” … and you can’t do that without a credit card.

Credit cards are essential in helping you establish a credit history, even more so than a car or school loan.

Mortgage lenders and the bureaus who determine your credit score want to see how well you “borrow credit” and handle monthly payments. They use this “history” to evaluate you.

But don’t rush out to get more cards … you MUST use your credit cards correctly or you’ll create a poor credit report. If done correctly, having a credit card can actually INCREASE your credit score.

It’s important that you know what to do and what to avoid in order to be deemed “credit-worthy” in a lender’s eyes.  Your FICO score in your credit report plays a big role in the loans you’ll qualify for, the interest rate you’ll get, and whether a lender will even work with you.

Plus, it can take at least 6 months to build or improve your credit, so start planning well before you want to take out a loan.

Lets go over more details and take you through some important steps:

First things first, if you don’t have a credit card, get one and use it for at least 6 months.    You may want to start with a secure credit card.  That is a card where you send a small amount of money to the credit card company and they will give you a card, using your money as a line of credit.  Start using your card and making payments on time, eventually, you will start building up your credit history.   In case you miss a payment, the bank will use your money that you have sent to them to pay the card.  This is a good way for people with no or bad credit to improve their credit history. 

Next, use your credit card smartly…in a way that increase your credit score.

You’ve got to use your card in order to build a credit history!

Using your card and paying off your balances will create a good credit utilization rate or debt-to-credit ratio.

This figure measures your total outstanding balance against your total available credit. Keep in mind that this ratio accounts for a third of your credit score.

Here are some key tips:

  • Try to have low balances as you build your credit. If you must carry, try to keep your balances below 30% of your available credit. That helps your score.
  • Develop a strategy of purchases and payments with your credit card(s) that will work with your budget. Do this for the next 6 months or so. You want to pay your bills on time and if possible, pay off your balances each month. Sixty-five percent of your FICO score is your payment history.
  • Open another card to increase your line of credit, and thus improving your debt-to-income ratio. But don’t go overboard and open up too many. Take it slow and be methodical so you don’t ruin your credit when you’re just starting out.
  • Department store cards can become a dangerous habit so stick to a couple of stores that you use regularly and can pay off each month. It seems that every salesperson at checkout will ask if you want to get a card and save on your purchase that day.  Don’t be swayed each time or you’ll end up with 10 cards with high interest.

Having a strategic plan to build credit to become a homeowner is a great way to develop good credit habits. You can become the type of dependable customer that lenders love … you know how to responsibly “borrow” money and make payments.

Your credit habits – how you handle your debt and payments every month – will either increase or decrease your credit score.  And it’s not just about qualifying for a mortgage, but your credit score matters when you want to take out any type of loan, for example if you want to buy a car or refinance to take advantage of lower rates.

Next week, you’ll learn more ways to build up and maintain a good credit score. There are some things you NEVER want to do, especially if you’re in the market for a new home!  So, look out for Demystifying Your Credit Score, the next installment of my 4-week series.

What You Need To Know Before Buying Your First Home!

Hi, there!

I'm Carmen and I love helping first time home buyers, including Spanish speakers,  buyer their first home.  I also love helping sellers looking to move up or downsize to their next home.  Let me know how I can help you make your real estate goals come true. 

Let's Meet



921 Pleasant Valley Av
Suite 200
Mt. Laurel, NJ  08054

Buyers:  tips and advice on buying your first home

My Listings (and their stories)

Sellers: tips on home maintenance and prepping your home for sale 


schedule your free consultation

Hi, there!

I'm Carmen and I love helping first time home buyers make their first home more affordable and I love helping sellers looking to move up to their forever home. Let me know how I can help you make your real estate dreams come true. 

schedule your free consultation

Buyers:  tips and advice on buying your first home.

My Listings (and their stories)

Sellers: tips on home maintenance and prepping your home for sale