New plan could help Prince George’s Co. residents boost their credit scores (and get paid for it)

Having a low credit score costs you money, with higher interest rates and other fees. Boosting your credit score takes a lot of time, and only recently was it possible to start sending rental payments to credit bureaus to help give you that boost. Now, a new program being offered in Prince George’s County, Maryland, will try to help residents there boost their scores too.

It’s called the Credit Builder program. Residents around the county can sign up and agree to deposit $44 a month into a new secure account with the Prince George’s Community Federal Credit Union.

“Each month that the resident makes on-time payments, we’ll report those on-time payments directly to the credit bureaus, which will help them establish a track record of making on-time payments,” Councilman Ed Burroughs said.

You’re basically assigning yourself an extra bill to pay every month, though you can get all that money back after 12 months. A limited number of those who live in the 8th District, which Burroughs represents, will also see the county match that $44-a-month payment.

“At the end of the year, every dollar the resident puts in, they get back. And every dollar that we put in, they get back,” Burroughs said. That means they’ll walk away with about $1,000, “and an improved credit score. We’ve seen individuals raise their credit scores by 70 points.”

The county says similar programs boost credit scores by an average of 20 to 67 points, though in some cases, it can climb over 100 points.

The matching program in the 8th District is made possible by a grant the county received.

The program opened this week and is part of a partnership with the Financial Empowerment Center at Prince George’s Community College.

Burroughs said hundreds of people have already applied to sign up. The $44 match for residents in his district is capped at 576 people.

Editor’s Note: The original story stated the wrong dollar amount program participants will receive. It has since been corrected to $1,000.

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John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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