How to Build Good Credit: 5 Steps for College Grads

by Renee' Anderson 3. February 2015

Good Credit, Bad Credit

Congratulations on making it through college! Now it’s time to get yourself together. Once you have a full-time job lined up, you should focus your attention on your financial future. Sounds grown up, huh?! It’s really not that complicated. Building good credit is an important part of your finances. Here are five steps to take towards your goal:

1) Become an authorized user on your parents’ credit card account.

This doesn’t mean your parents have to hand over their credit card and let you go crazy, buy a new iPhone6 and go on a shopping spree. What I would suggest is getting permission to simply use the card for expenses they typically pay for. This way you can take the credit card and fill the family grocery order while building good credit for yourself and pleasing your parents by lending a helping hand. It’s a win, win!

2) Apply for your own credit card.

Just one. Not 10, ONE. You will want to establish credit worthiness by using it to purchase small items that you typically would pay for with cash. Put the cash aside so when the bill arrives, you can pay it off in full each month. Oh, and while we’re on the subject…don’t forget to PAY IT OFF IN FULL each month!

3) Pay bills on time.

This applies to credit card bills along with any other bills you have. Perhaps you have student loans? A cell phone bill? Paying them on time makes a big difference.

4) Apply for a car loan.

Now that you’ve graduated and hopefully have a full-time job, you’re probably ready to buy your own brand new (or used) car. Go for it, and get the loan in your name. Doing this, and paying it on time, will help your credit. It’s good to have a variety of different account types to diversify your credit.

5) Pay attention!

You need to keep track of your finances including your credit card statements and the activity on the account. Make sure there are no mistakes, i.e. a charge that is not yours. There are times where mix ups occur, and you could be charged or penalized for something you didn’t do. If that happens, call your credit card company to straighten things out right away.

Follow these steps and you can take credit for building your own good credit. See what I did there? You know that was funny. Or cheesy, okay.

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

Is It Good Debt or Bad Debt?

Establishing Credit for Beginners

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Howard County Settlement Down Payment Loan Program

by Charlie Maykrantz 29. January 2015

Home Buying Assistance

Would you like to buy a home in Howard County, but need funds for down-payment and closing costs? 1st Mariner Bank participates in a program that is offered by Howard County Housing, the Settlement Down Payment Loan Program (SDLP). All loans are deferred and are due upon sale of home, refinance, or default. There are four different loan types that are made available to eligible applicants. They are:

1) The Home Starter Loan

2) The Home Steader Loan

3) The Dream Maker Loan

4) The Revitalization Loan

Information about all of these programs can be found here.

All borrowers must meet the income guidelines as set forth by the program parameters for each type. The maximum purchase price is $429,620. Borrowers must be a first-time homebuyer unless an exception is allowed per the loan type guidelines. All borrowers must have a minimum of $1,000 to apply towards the settlement/down-payment costs plus one month PITI (principle, interest, taxes, insurance) mortgage payment. Buyers must be approved for a fixed-rate mortgage and lack sufficient funds to pay for the total settlement down-payment costs. The loan amount will range from a minimum of $15,000 to a maximum of $40,000 with an interest rate of 2% below the primary loan rate.

There is also the Moderate Income Housing Unit (MIHU) Program that is offered by Howard County Housing. The MIHU Program is an inclusionary zoning program that requires developers of new housing in specific zoning districts to sell a portion of the dwelling units to households of moderate income. Prices range from $182,000 to $277,000. Any person who meets the household income can apply for a MIHU transaction.

For more information on these programs or any of our other products at 1st Mariner Bank please feel free to contact Charlie Maykrantz at or 410-735-2068.

The above programs are subject to change at any time and this does not constitute a guarantee on the part of 1st Mariner Bank as an obligation to offer these programs without the approval of the program administrator. All applicants must be qualified to purchase and participate in these programs per underwriting guidelines of both 1st Mariner and the program administrator.

If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

Baltimore County Settlement Expense Loan Program (SELP)

Anne Arudnel County Mortgage Assistance Program (MAP)

Baltimore City Homebuying Incentives

I Married into Poor Credit...Now What?

by Kelly McCready 28. January 2015

Credit and Marriage

When you get married, you are taking on joint financial liabilities. This is a fact, like it or not.

Just because you fell in love with someone who has destroyed their credit, doesn’t mean you have to live with it. However, you probably have to help fix it. If your spouse has poor credit, it can affect your joint credit accounts and potentially prevent you from opening certain accounts or receiving certain loans. In fact, until you straighten out your spouse’s credit, you may want to just avoid signing up for joint accounts. First things first, let’s get your spouse’s credit back on track!

Here are a few steps to help guide you:

  1. Come up with a manageable budget to pay off any outstanding debt. If you struggle coming up with the cash to make payments, take into consideration daily or weekly habits that could be stopped (i.e. coffee in the morning, buying lunch while at work, ordering out for dinner), or redirect your spouse’s 401k contribution toward paying off the debt.

  2. After some debt has been paid down, sign your spouse up as an authorized user on a credit card account. This will help build their credit back up.

  3. Check credit reports annually. This is more of a maintenance step, but it is very important. You need to keep an eye on things. Mistakes do happen, and if you’re on top of things, you can catch them.
If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:

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Consolidating Your Debt: Why It's Important and When to Consider It

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