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: The only way to build a good credit score is to have credit. Credit cards IN GOOD STANDING will raise your score and get you a better rate on your car loan.

If you are POSITIVE that you can only charge what you can pay off every single time, get a card with a low limit and start using it. Even if you don't use it, having the credit available to you will make you look better to other creditors. However, small charges that are paid off every month look even better.

Also be sure to have a checking account and savings account. Even if you don't have much money in either, it shows a level of responsibility. Find a bank or credit union that doesn't charge monthly fees for small balances. There are tons of them out there. Bigger balances = higher credit score, so save as much as you can.

The one late payment will be a small dent on your score - especially if that's the only thing you have on your record. But, you can't change that now. Just learn from it.

And, I really can't stress this enough - only charge what you can pay off immediately. I mean, if you don't have the cash in your account, you don't buy whatever it is. Do not buy things in anticipation of pay day. Only spend what is already in your pocket (or bank account).

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