Credit Management

What is a credit score and how to get better credit

Credit scores are a way that financial institutions assess if someone is a good candidate for a loan or credit card. Scores range from 300 to 850, and higher scores are better. If you’ve never applied for credit before, you might not yet have a score.

Earning and maintaining a high credit score is beneficial because it means you can access credit in larger amounts or at a lower rate. At Premier Members Credit Union, we offer several products that can help people build or repair their credit, including our VISA Credit Builder Credit Card.

Check out the advice below to learn more about how to establish and improve your credit score.

How to start building a credit score

Lots of people have no or low credit scores. Young adults, immigrants, self-employed and cash earners often struggle when they first apply for credit. A good way to start building credit is with a credit card or loan designed for new borrowers. Our credit specialists are always happy to help you explore your options and find the best credit building solutions for your needs.

How to improve your credit score

If you already have credit but your score isn’t as high as you would like it to be, there are steps you can take to improve it.

Here are our top tips:

  • Pay all your bills on time
  • Lower your outstanding debt
  • Never max out credit cards
  • Fix errors on your credit report
  • Close accounts you no longer use

If you do find yourself in hard times, speak to your financial institution as soon as possible. They may be able to offer solutions that let you catch up without damaging your credit score.

How to protect your credit score

If you already have a good credit score, you know how important it is to protect it. Reduce your risk of credit fraud by safeguarding your payment cards and personal identification number (PIN). Make sure nobody can read your account numbers on bank statements before discarding them. And consider freezing your credit if you don’t intend to use it anytime soon.

Order Free Credit Report(s) Online

Due to the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACT Act), you are able to order one free credit report per year from each of the 3 major consumer credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
To receive your free credit reports online, visit the official website:

NOTE: Annual Credit Report provides the only truly free, government-back website for checking credit scores. When reseaching credit report services, be aware of “free” claims and confirm all information related to your request prior to submission.

Expect to pay a nominal fee when requesting a credit report, unless your loan was denied due to information in your report. Colorado residents may obtain one free credit report each year.

Questions about credit agencies can be directed to:

Federal Trade Commission – 877.FTC.HELP

National Foundation for Consumer Credit – 800.388.2227