Credit Builder 101

Credit Building 101

Building credit builds your future!

Borrowing money may not be at the top of your thoughts, but did you know that building your credit is vital to your overall fiscal health? Credit can affect your ability to make a purchase as well as how much you will pay. If you are considering buying something large like a car or a home, your credit score will be a big determining factor on your ability to do so. 

GTE products to help build your credit:

The road to rebuilding credit varies from situation to situation. With the right tools and education, we can help you by GOING BEYOND MONEY to achieve your goals.

GTE Financial is proud to offer the following products to assist with your journey to enhance, strengthen, and rebuild your credit.

GTE Go Forward secured credit card

Secured cards give you a unique opportunity to establish credit or overcome credit challenges.  With a Secured card you will be asked to make a cash deposit which will determine your credit limit. This deposit will be held until you graduate into an unsecured card. 

  • $0 Annual Fee1
  • Zero Liability for unauthorized transactions 
  • MasterCard Identity Theft Protection 
  • Design your own card for a personalized experience 

GTE Shared Secured Loan

Much like the Go Forward Secured, you will be asked to make a cash deposit which will determine your credit limit. This deposit is released after final payment.  

  • Borrow up to 100% of your Regular Shares account
  • Extended re-payment terms available
  • Funds can be utilized for any purpose such as debt consolidation

GTE Credit Builder Loan

Build your credit with no money down! While this credit builder will come with a higher interest rate than the Share Secured Loan, it is designed to help you begin your journey without cash on hand. 

  • Up to $2,500 available 
  • Build or rebuild credit without a minimum deposit 

GTE Instant Cash

Unexpected expenses can happen to anyone. If you're in need of a short-term loan, GTE is here to help you avoid predatory lenders. We now offer a fair and financially responsible way to borrow smaller amounts of money with short payback periods. This loan is only available to GTE members and is designed to protect you from high interest rates.

  • Apply for a loan without pulling your credit 
  • Fast decisioning
  • Low application fee of $20 
  • Extended re-payment terms available
  • Money instantly deposited to your GTE checking account 


  • Must be a GTE member for at least 90 days 
  • Must have a GTE checking account 
  • Must be 18 or older 
  • Must have recurring direct deposit from an employer or social security (not PayPal/Venmo/Zelle, etc.) 
  • Must be primary account holder 
  • No previously charged off shares or loan accounts 
  • No loans over 30 days past due 
  • Max one GTE Instant Cash loan at a time 
  • Less than 5 Nonsufficient Funds (NSF) fees in the past 12 months 

Not a GTE Member? Come Join us for exclusive credit building and additional benefits! 

Credit is the ability of a customer to obtain goods or services before payment, based on the trust that payment will be made in the future. In simpler terms, credit is the trustworthiness that you are going to pay back what you borrow.

A credit score is a number that represents the risk a borrower poses to a lender or, in other words, how likely that borrower is to repay a loan on time. In general, credit scores range from 300 to 850, with higher scores earning borrower’s greater approval odds and more competitive rates. Credit scores dictate whether someone is likely to qualify for everything from credit cards to car loans, mortgages, and apartment leases. Lenders also use a borrower’s credit score to determine the interest rate and down payment it requires. Scores may even be used when opening new accounts with local utilities to evaluate the likelihood of a customer making on-time bill payments.

FICO and VantageScore provide the most common scoring models, which are based on information reported by the three main credit bureaus—Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. Each scoring model assigns weight to various factors that represent a borrower’s creditworthiness, including payment history, outstanding balances, and length of credit. However, individual lenders may also calculate scores based on their own proprietary algorithms.

Payment History—35%

Payment history is the most important factor that goes into a consumer’s credit score, accounting for 35% of the calculation. When evaluating a borrower’s creditworthiness, scoring models look for late payments and then consider the degree of lateness, number of tardy payments and how long ago the late payments were made.

While an isolated late payment isn’t likely to damage your credit score dramatically, it may still be impactful. On the other hand, demonstrating a pattern of late payments—or making payments more than 60 days late—is more harmful. Strengthen this portion of your credit score by making consistent, on-time payments and disputing any late payments that you believe are errors.

Accounts Owed—30%

Next to payment history, 30% of a consumer’s FICO credit score is based on the total amount of outstanding debt—or accounts owed—a borrower has on their credit report. To evaluate this, scoring models look at the consumer’s total debt, number of accounts with balances, credit utilization ratios and types of accounts, like credit cards, mortgages and student loans.

You can bolster this component of your credit score by paying down credit balances and limiting future use of your cards. Likewise, stay on top of payments on installment loans (e.g., auto loans and mortgages) to keep your balances under control.

Length of Credit History—15%

A consumer’s credit history length accounts for 15% of their credit score, making it the third most impactful factor. To evaluate the length of a borrower’s credit history, the scoring models identify the average age of all accounts; the ages of the oldest and newest accounts; the length of time each account has been open; and the date on which each account was last active.

For this reason, it’s best not to close older accounts in good standing—especially if you plan to apply for a mortgage or other large loan soon. Improving this aspect of your score typically requires time and patience. That said, becoming an authorized user on an older account in good standing may help you boost the age of your credit and improve your score.

Credit Mix—10%

A borrower’s credit mix is the combination of credit cards, loans and other accounts. Scoring models reward borrowers for having a variety of account types, though the factor only accounts for 10% of a credit score calculation. This includes both revolving credit, like credit cards, and installment accounts such as personal loans and mortgages.

To make the most of this factor, review your credit report and identify gaps in your credit mix. For example, it may be helpful to open a new credit card if you don’t have any revolving accounts on your credit report. Borrowers without any installment loans can benefit from applying for a small personal loan and making regular, on-time payments.

New Credit—10%

When evaluating a borrower’s overall creditworthiness, scoring models also look at recent inquiries—or credit checks. This category, which only accounts for 10% of a consumer’s credit score calculation, also includes how many new accounts are on the borrower’s credit report and when they were opened. 

In general, borrowers who open multiple credit accounts at the same time pose more risk to lenders, making them less attractive. So, while new credit isn’t as impactful as other variables, it’s still helpful to limit new inquiries on your report if you’re planning to apply for an auto loan or mortgage soon.

There are many ways that you can find your credit score from any of the three bureaus. We suggest that you make a request for your credit report annually to make sure that all the information is valid. Additionally, you can use a credit reporting service to notify you of any changes in your score!

FICO scores range from 250 to 900, but FICO-based scores and VantageScore versions 3.0 and 4.0 each range from 300 to 850. A credit score of 700 or higher is generally considered good, while one that exceeds 800 is excellent. However, there are slight differences in how each scoring convention categorizes consumers. 

It’s important to keep in mind that what constitutes a good credit score can also depend on the lender and type of loan. To help you navigate these differences, many lenders offer a prequalification process that can predict approval odds and whether you’re likely to get a competitive rate.

  • Make on time payments consistently
  • Increase your credit (if right for your financial situation)
  • Review your credit report at least once a year to check for discrepancies
  • Keep your accounts open longer, and your older accounts in good standing.
  • Use a credit monitoring service like GTE Secure Personal Identity Theft Protection

*Tips to improve your credit is not financial advice. Credit improvement is not a guarantee. If any questions arise, please contact a financial professional.

All loans are subject to approval.

1- Rate will be based on your creditworthiness. Annual Percentage Rate as of 5/31/2024. Annual percentage rates, terms, and conditions subject to change. Please review our Credit Card (Regulation Z) Disclosure for terms and conditions here.