Skip to Main Content

Start of main content

How to build credit or improve a credit score

Zero credit or bad credit isn’t an insurmountable hurdle. Here’s what to do.

On paper, Americans’ credit card use and debt appears to be headed for disaster. Nearly one-third have credit card debt that exceeds emergency savings. Four out of 10 carry credit card debt, and the average total is about $5,700.

For people who may already be struggling with too much debt, a poor credit score may be closer than they think — by leveraging a late bill payment or taking on a new credit card to help bridge a gap. On the other end of the spectrum, people with no credit history may be unsure what to do to build a solid financial foundation that includes a good credit score.

The steps to either building a credit history or improving a credit score aren’t too difficult, but they do take time. To build a credit history, start by regularly and fully paying bills, every month. You may also be able to secure a positive credit history by opting for a secured credit card; this backs up your credit card use with a cash collateral deposit. To improve a credit score, you must also prioritize bills as well as existing debt and limit any additions to your credit — new applications and cards, for example. Learn more with our helpful steps.

Enlarge Infographic

State Farm® (including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates) is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, any third party products or the content of any third party sites referenced in this material. State Farm has no discretion to alter, update, or control the content on the third party sites. Any references to such sites are provided for informational purposes only and are not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the products which may be referenced on such third party sites. State Farm does not warrant the merchantability, fitness, or quality of the third party products referenced in this material.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.


Get a Quote

Select a product to start a quote.


Contact Us

844-373-0003 844-373-0003

Also Important

Let's Talk Credit Score

Let's Talk Credit Score

Credit doesn’t have to be a mystery. Five factors determine your score. Here’s what you should know about them.

Celebrate Paying Off a Credit Card by Closing It…Or Not?

Celebrate Paying Off a Credit Card by Closing It…Or Not?

Keep an old credit card open to improve your credit score, but only if you can avoid the temptation to spend.

Related Articles

Calculate Monthly Payments on a Loan and Line of Credit

Calculate Monthly Payments on a Loan and Line of Credit

This online tool offers insight into the monthly amounts that will be due on your loan.

Tips on how to get the best of balance transfer offers

Tips on how to get the best of balance transfer offers

With low interest rates, balance transfer offers are tempting. Are they a good idea?

Monitor Your Credit Report Without Leaving Your Couch

Monitor Your Credit Report Without Leaving Your Couch

Staying informed about your credit report could stop credit fraud and identity theft.