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The 5 best ways to build your credit

If there's a playbook for starting your financial life, starting to save and building your credit goes hand in hand with finding the right job. Credit is what allows you to rent or get a mortgage. If the idea of credit and a credit score is new, the system can seem complicated and daunting. 

This week, Marketplace Weekend is talk about new graduates — a group overwhelmingly new to credit. Who better to ask about credit than the guy who's traveled the world on points while building excellent credit for himself: Brian Kelly, the founder of The Points Guy , a site devoted to credit, and points and miles travel. 

Kelly has mastered the credit game and he has some advice for new grads who are just getting started on building credit:

1. Check your score.

Even if you think you don't have a credit score (and if you have student loans, car payments or medical bills, you may be wrong), start at a free credit checking site . You'll want to find out what your FICO score is and get an idea of the breakdown of what makes a FICO score. A lot of your FICO score (35 percent) is determined by payment history, so if you have none, this is where you start building. Once you know your score, don't just move forward and never check it again — keep looking! Scores go up and down, and knowing yours is important.

What Is a Jumbo Loan? It's Not as Huge as You Might Think

"There is no one-size-fits-all credit score for jumbo loans,” he adds.

Where to go for a jumbo loan

After the housing crisis, many mortgage lenders pulled out of the jumbo loan market. After all, extra-large home loans pose a greater risk to the lender. Today, most jumbo loans come from banks.

According to the Wall Street Journal , jumbo home loans rose to 24% of mortgage approvals at six of the largest U.S. retail banks in 2015, from 21% the year before, according to an analysis of federal home-loan data. Those banks are JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, PNC Financial Services Group, and SunTrust Banks. So if you are planning on applying for a jumbo loan, be sure to look at the rates these banks are offering.

Down payment requirements for a jumbo loan

The magic down payment figure for conventional loans is 20%, because it enables the borrower to avoid having to pay private mortgage insurance , or PMI. Many jumbo-loan lenders require at least a 20% down payment—and some even require a 25% down payment. Moreover, PMI is not typically available on jumbo loans.

Can someone please explain the correlation between credit/mortgage fears and the stock market?

"Major gauges tumble on credit and mortgage market fears; Dow, Nasdaq, S&P 500 all down 10 percent off highs - reaching market correction levels."

This was the headline on CNN.


I work for one of the largest (still standing) mortgage banks in the county. I've been in and out of the industry for 10 years. I got out in the last crash in 1998. By the looks of things, it's a lot worse than it was 10 years ago.