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I have had a Bank of America credit card for two years. I use it for almost all of my purchases and earn 1% cash back. I pay my credit card bills on time and have a good credit score.

One of the common topics that interns/volunteers (Advocates) at Community Empowerment Fund go over with those in need of our services (Members) is credit. A few weeks ago, I helped someone old enough to be my parent pull their credit report for the first time…

And their score was far lower than mine.

Credit is incredibly important.

Need to work? Need to rent? Need to drive?

Credit, credit, credit, is often what employers, landlords, car salespeople and more look at. If your score is too low, you’re disqualified.


But understanding and building credit are not common knowledge. Did you know that your balance should be less than 30% of your card’s limit? Did you know that you should have diverse kinds of loans — which doesn’t mean just credit cards? Did you know that the average age of your loans matters?

I didn’t. But despite my lack of knowledge, I still have a good credit score. Why? Because my dad prompted me to get a credit card. Because he was able to cosign for my credit card so I didn’t have to get a secured credit card. Because he gave me enough money to get started paying my bills before I started working part-time.

In short, because I am privileged.