With summer now more than halfway over, many are starting to near their ship date to boot camp. This transition to military life brings new financial opportunities for young service members, including getting their credit journey off to a good start.
Having a good credit score and using credit appropriately is an important part of making the transition to adult life. But it can be hard to get approved for a credit card when you don’t have any credit to your name, to prove why you’re creditworthy to the credit card companies.
Learn about why credit is important, how to build it, and how an Armed Forces Bank Credit Builder card can be the perfect choice for new military recruits.
Why Good Credit Is Important for New Recruits
Having a good credit score is important for anyone. But military recruits who get a head start on building and maintaining a good credit score can get a head start when it comes to their future financial goals.
After boot camp -- or even before -- you may find yourself applying for a car loan, a mortgage, or another type of loan. Even renting an apartment or applying for a future security clearance in your military career can take your credit score into account. Unfortunately, without a good credit score, the chances of getting a good interest rate on a loan, or even getting the go-ahead for your plans, can be much lower.
Credit scores are made up of a variety of factors, creating a single score that tells a lender the creditworthiness of a borrower. Those factors include your payment history and credit utilization ratio, but if you’re a new recruit, these particular pieces of the credit puzzle may not apply to you yet.
However, getting started with building credit at a relatively young age can start getting you positive scores in some of the other categories -- such as length of credit history and credit mix. And overall, these can help set you on the right path for your financial future.
How New Recruits Can Build Credit
One of the simplest ways to start building credit is by opening and responsibly using a credit card. But considering the factors that credit card companies take into account, new recruits wishing to open their first account with a traditional credit card may be rejected.
It’s likely because they don’t have enough history for the credit card company to know whether they’re trustworthy. As an unknown quantity, the lenders may feel they’re too much of a risk. This can be frustrating for recruits who are looking to build credit. How can you build credit when no one will give you the opportunity to build it?
The answer to this tricky situation could be a secured credit card. A secured credit card, through a credit builder program, can help people build their credit in a safe, supervised way. That way, new recruits can work on establishing a stronger credit profile with a history of on-time payments, which will eventually help boost their scores.
Secured credit cards are backed by a cash deposit. If you were to default on your payment, you then have the cash on hand to use. This means it’s less risky overall. Using a secured credit card, making even small purchases and paying in full by the due date can help boost your score. Because credit card companies automatically report payments to the credit bureaus each month, your score can start climbing month by month.
How the Armed Forces Bank Credit Builder Credit Card Works
At Armed Forces Bank, we offer a Credit Builder Secured Visa Credit Card, which is perfect for new recruits, or others looking to improve their credit score.
With our secured credit card, you can set your own credit limit between $300 and $3,000 based on the amount you deposit into your Credit Builder Savings account. Then, you can increase your credit limit by adding funds in increments of $50 or more to the savings account.
Features of the Armed Forces Bank Credit Builder include:
- No application fee
- No over-limit fee
- No annual fee
- Automatic reporting to the three major credit bureaus to help you build a credit history
- Upgrade to an unsecured card with good performance.
- Added security of EMV chip technology
- Faster, more secure online transactions when you enroll in Visa® Checkout
- Choose either the 1st or 16th of each month as your payment date.
*Subject to credit approval. Improved credit score is not guaranteed. Credit score is determined by credit reporting agencies based on multiple factors, but satisfactory performance on a credit card product can improve your credit score. Default on a credit card, including missed or late payments can damage your credit score. Once added, funds cannot be withdrawn from the savings account without closing the savings account and the credit card.
How to Apply
Applying for the Armed Forces Bank Credit Builder Secured Visa Credit Card is easy and free.
Remember that you will need to deposit an amount into a savings account equal to the credit limit you are requesting. You can request any amount between $300 and $3,000.
For example, if you are applying for a $1,000 secured credit card, you will need to deposit $1,000 into a savings account. You will then be expected to make monthly payments equal to at least the minimum payment amount shown on your monthly statement. You also must have a Credit Builder Savings Account with Armed Forces Bank.
Here’s what else you need to apply:
- Driver’s License or Government-Issued ID
- Social Security Number
- Date of Birth
- Current Home Address
- E-mail Address
Setting New Recruits -- and Military Families -- Up for Success
At Armed Forces Bank, we’re on your side when it comes to your financial goals. No matter where you are in your life.
The Armed Forces Bank Credit Builder card can help you make a positive impact on your credit score by simply using it for everyday purchases and paying it off each month. Making on-time payments and keeping your balances low can help successfully build your credit over time.