Skip Navigation Download Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view PDF files.

Let’s Get SMART About Credit

Credit Cards

Do you know what your credit score is? Do you know what constitutes a good credit score? Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are allowing consumers to check their credit score with free weekly credit reports. This is considered to be their COVID-19 Credit Card and Debt Relief plan. It’s never been a better time to get smart about your credit. 

How do I Check my Credit Score? 

We mentioned Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are allowing consumers to check their credit score weekly, for free. This service will be available until December 31, 2023. You can receive your free credit score from those three credit reporting agencies. The FDIC recommends receiving all three credit scores at once from You can visit their website or call them at (877) 322-8228. 

What is a Good Credit Score? 

Good Credit ScoreEquifax, Experian, and TransUnion use a FICO Score. Scores range from 300 to 850. A higher score indicates better credit. FICO defines a good score as 670 to 739 or higher. 

How Do I Raise My Credit Score? 

Be patient when building up your credit score, developing good habits is crucial to improving your score.
• Ask for higher credit limits on your credit card
• Use less than 30% of your credit card limit
• Pay your bills on time
• Correct errors on your credit report
• Use a secured credit card
• Become an authorized user on another’s credit card

What Are SMART Goals? 

Setting goals, in general, can be overwhelming. Goal setting without an action plan can lead to disaster. Maybe you would like to raise your credit score, or you’d like to pay off your credit card debt. The SMART goal method helps structure our business and personal goals and development.

SMART goalsSpecific

This method calls for the goal you’re setting to be specific and tangible. You don’t want to leave the goal open to any misinterpretation or confusion.


The goal should have some form of measurement to track your progress


The goal needs to be realistic. Especially when it comes to the allotted time frame.


Goals need to relate to your values, ethics, dreams, and ambitions. Be cautious though, remember you want these goals to be attainable and realistic.


There needs to be a realistic deadline that you stick to until the end.

How Can I Apply Smart Goals to My Credit

Your credit can determine where you live, what vehicle you can afford, your employment, and loan eligibility. Bottomline, you need good credit to live comfortably. The better your score, the more opportunities are available to you.

When applying the SMART method to your credit, begin with step one–deciding what you want to do. What is causing you to examine your credit score? Are you looking to upgrade your living situation? Has your vehicle seen better days? Maybe you have negative inquiries that you’re looking to fix. Make the endpoint of your goal as specific as possible, it will make it easier to define the parameters of the goal.

Next, you need to assess your budget and current assets. The 50-30-20 budget method recommends that you use less than 20% of your income on your debt. Plan your debt payments carefully.

After determining your budget it’s time to put your plan into action. Correlate your goals with a deadline so there is a sense of urgency. Understand that not everything turns out the way we plan. Sometimes there are unexpected hospital visits, or vehicular malfunctions. Unexpected expenses are a part of life, you may need to delay your goal. Keep in mind delaying your goal doesn’t mean it’s impossible to complete.
Milestones can be accomplished along the journey. With every milestone, you come one step closer to victory. These key events will help you stay on track.

Keeping track of your progress can also help motivate you to accomplish your goals. Don’t feel bad about celebrating mini moments of triumph. Celebrating will help you gain the motivation to complete your goals.

How to Implement SMART Goals

Let’s Be Specific

First let’s begin by specifically stating our goal. Let’s say we want to pay off credit card debt.

Time to Measure Our Success 

Next, we need to determine how much we owe to make our goal measurable. Let’s say for this example we need to pay off a debt worth $550. 

Get to It

Now, set a deadline. According to our budget we’ll pay $110 plus interest every month towards our credit card. Maybe in that period we will stop using this credit card to stop us from gaining further debt. 

Stay Grounded

Achieving this goal won’t happen overnight. It’s important to assess the steps you need to take to achieve your goal. Life is unexpected, and sometimes there are things we don’t plan that can affect our goals. If situations like this arise, plan to take the necessary steps to still accomplish your goal. You can plan to cut subscription services, stop borrowing more, or even take up extra shifts at work. 

Achieve Your Goal

In this example, $110 per month plus interest towards the debt will complete the goal in just five months. 

Put it All Together

The final smart goal will look like this: 
• I will pay off my $550 credit card debt in 5 months by paying $110 (plus interest). 
• I will achieve this goal by sticking to my budget and not using my card at this time. 
• If unexpected expenses should arise I will cut my subscription budget. 

Dealing with credit can be overwhelming. It’s nice to have a foundation to begin planning for your financial success. Having your goals be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound can help organize your financial planning. With SMART Goals you can take control of your credit so you can obtain that loan, housing, or employment opportunity. 

Visit Altabank’s website to learn more about our Visa credit cards If you have questions, you can call 1-800-815-2265 and talk to someone today or stop by in any of our branches across Utah and Southern Idaho to get help.