Christmas Credit Tips for College Students

by Larry Chiang on December 13, 2009

Larry Chiang gets mentored from the best. If you liked “9 Things They Don’t Teach You at Stanford Business School “, “Raise Your FICO While You’re An MBA Student“, and Increase Your FICO After You Lose Your Jobyou’ll like his newest submission: “Christmas Credit Tips for College Students”.

By Larry Chiang

The holidays are for pilgrimages back home and seeing high school friends. I didn’t go to high school with you but I am about to be your BFF. I am going to give YOU the gift of street smarts.  This is definitely stuff they don’t teach you in business school.

LESSON: THE inside look into how to really build credit. I built a secret society focused on inflating, hacking and manipulating your FICO score. Don’t know what a FICO score or don’t think it’s important?! Then stop reading now —

FICO eclipses your SAT score’s importance by leaps because it controls and dictates the largest expense in your life: INTEREST. There is a right side and a wrong side to the interest rate equation. Suckers pay interest and stay poor.  Don’t wanna be the Mayor of Lollipop-ville, read on.

Add Information to Your Credit Transcript
Imagine if you could go back in time and add A’s to your high school transcript. Believe it — Your credit report is alterable.

Similar to how your credit reports from Trans Union, Equifax and Experian are like your running college transcript, you can add a bunch of A’s for yourself. How?! Charge and pay-off mini amounts EVERY MONTH. The foundation to the secret society that graduates in the 90th percentile in credit is 24 on-time payments in a row.

Mentor a Buddy.
What is the difference between zero paid on time and $20 paid on-time?! A ‘1’ versus an”x”. 1s mean you paid on time. x’s mean no transaction, no payment required. X’s don’t help your credit.

24 1’s is a FICO over 750. Pass this knowledge forward. Read it. Do it. Teach it.

Your own knowledge grows when you mentor a buddy.

Paper, Stamps and Antiquated Laws.
Credit is a remnant, old-world relic that dictates how much interest you will pay. Navigate and tip the credit rules in your favor with paper and stamps. Credit complaints carry no weight over email and are even less effective over the phone. Write to resolve a credit dispute.

Is the U.S. of A., FCBA rules. Writing preserves our rights. Remember, FCBA stands for “Fair Credit Billing Act”, not the ‘Fair Credit Bitching Act’. Post your credit complaint to CreditCard.org will add weight to your soapbox.

Credit Identify this Holiday Season.
Get organized.
– One manilla folder. List out every account you have and keep a copy of your credit report.
– One Gmail Folder. Same.

Publicize an Urban Myth on Your Facebook Status.
Greenland is ice and Iceland is green. The two largest credit myths:
(1) FreeCreditReport.com is not free. Its free at AnnualCreditReport.com
(2) No, it does not hurt to check your credit. There are three types of inquiries: credit, consumer and advertiser. Only credit inquiries hurts.

Set Reminder Messages in Your Google Calendar for 2009
Login to your account every 11th and 21st and pay your credit card’s mini amounts. Better yet, turn your credit card into a debit card and login every week to pay it off in full. Use Google or Outlook calendar to remind yourself the 11th AND 21st of every month.

Login to Your Campus Power, Water or Cable Bill(s)

Statistically, students get 2’s and 3s on their credit report when they’re on Christmas break or study abroad. 2’s are 30 days late and 3’s are 60 day late derrogatories on your credit report. We want 24 1s (on time payments) in a row.

EXTRA CREDIT: Run your credit report.
AnnualCreditReport.com. Better yet, mail in this form.

Not having your own credit report is like going off to college never having seen your high school transcript.

EXTRA CREDIT: Dispute something minor AND incorrect on your credit report (IN WRITING)

Duck 9s on Your Credit
Avoid 9s on your credit report. The banks are out to hurt college duckies– and that’s where Duck9 comes in.  Duck9 can help you graduate with a FICO over 750.

Plan to Live Rent Free in 2011.
Live rent free when you get over 750 in FICO. Low mortgage rates, ease of qualification and a PITI under $1100 are keys to living rent free. How?! With your PITI under $1100, get two roomates paying $600 for your 3 BR/2Bath residence. PITI is principal, interest, taxes insurance.

Cheat on Your Bank
Don’t be one of those people that has checking, savings and credit card all at one bank. Save your monagamy for your dating relationship(s).

Good luck out there and text me during my office hours: 11:11am/pm give or take 15 minutes — 650-283-8008. This article is at http://tinyurl.com/12-22-08 so post it on Facebook!!! I am also on Facebook in the Austin TX network… why Texas?! It is because I started ‘Austin Secret Society of Entrepreneurs’ (#asse9). If you see a typo or grammatical error, email me! larry@larrychiang.com :-)


Larry’s book release 09-09-09 and BIO: http://tinyurl.com/AmazonBio


Larry Chiang is the founder of Duck9, which educates college students on how to establish and maintain a FICO score over 750. He has testified before Congress and World Bank on credit.

He is a frequent contributor to Business Week’s blog on “What They Don’t Teach You at Business School“. For fun, writes in a journal, cooks on a hot plate and plays basketball on college campuses across America.

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