Dollars and Sense: Building Credit

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)- Having a credit history allows us to make investments or big purchases when we don’t have the money to buy. When you’re making payments on time and keeping your balance low, your score increases which opens up opportunities to be approved for a loan and pay less money in the long run with lower interest rates. You can start to build credit as early as 18-years-old but be cautious when you sign up for a credit card. 

“It’s not a danger from the credit card company side of it. The danger is the lack of financial literacy” said President of Generational Credit Corey Lockett. 

Financial experts recommend only using a maximum of 30% of your credit limit to prevent unmanageable debt. Lockett said the offers from most credit card companies are great but he recommends first-time users to sign up for a secured credit card. A secured credit card requires you to put down a security deposit -let’s perhaps let’s say 500 dollars- in case you have trouble paying your debt off.

“The credit card company will, in turn, match their security deposit with their credit line,” said Lockett. 

So you’re ready to buy a home but you’re not confident enough in your credit score to apply for a mortgage loan. Mortgage Loan officer for JTS and company Tyler Farnham said depending on your actual history, you have a shot to buy that home.

“We can go all the way down to 600 on a credit score,” said Farnham. “Realistically to get a good interest rate, 620-640 and higher is where you wanna be for those but in some cases, we can get it done below that 620 marks and still get good interest rates especially in today’s market.”

Farnham said potential home buyers may have a credit score below 700 but you can still get low-interest rates. He also says if you don’t have enough credit history, you can use your rent payments from your apartment or house as a substitute if you pay by check or a bank account.

“We can use what’s called an alternate trade line. With those alternate tradelines, we have to show a 12-month history where you’ve made your payments on time.”

Over 80 percent of all credit reports have inaccuracies that can impact your score according to Lockett. 

“It can be simple stuff,” said Lockett. “The wrong address. The wrong name. I can have stuff on my credit that’s not mine based on a street number and my address. I tell everyone, every single year, grab your credit reports and go through them and look at simple stuff. When you see your report with Experian, see if it matches Equifax.”

For financial or credit advice, you can reach Corey Lockett by email at

For home loan information or to see if you qualify for a loan with low interest, contact Farnham by email at


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