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credit score impacts your ability to obtain financing, rent an apartment, get a cellphone, and even get a job. And it’s really hard to get credit if you have no credit score. Doesn’t make sense, does it?

Our research showed that over half of our young adult members do not have a credit score. We want to change that through the Dupaco Great Credit Race and the education that all participants and race fans learn along the way.

The Dupaco Great Credit Race is a competition in which participants race to build their credit score from 0 to as high as possible in six months. The racer with the highest credit score after six months wins $1,000. Everyone who plays wins by building their credit score!

Beginning on May 1, Dupaco Great Credit Race participants:

Received a Dupaco Visa credit card with $1000 limit.

Received advice and coaching from Dupaco experts.

Built their credit score as high as possible in 6 months.

The Dupaco Great Credit Race has come to an end. Check out the final standings:

Meet the Coaches

Coach Katie FisherAfter attending college in upstate New York where she majored in criminal justice and psychology, Coach Katie Fisher returned to her roots in Cedar Rapids, Iowa in 2010 where she resides with her daughter.

A few years later, Fisher joined Dupaco in October of 2013 as a teller.  She then grew with the company, moving up from member service representative to consumer/mortgage lending consultant at the Williams Boulevard branch in Cedar Rapids.

Her favorite part about working at Dupaco is the connections she gets to make with members. And, she embraces the wide range of skills that she has to follow young members through many life changes, from opening a first checking account to helping them purchase their first car or home.

Fisher believes that credit is extremely important to understand at an early age because it follows you everywhere you go, is easy to mess up and difficult to rebuild. But it’s not impossible.

Fisher’s first piece of advice in improving a credit score is to make sure to make payments on time, especially a mortgage. And when it comes to credit cards, they are the kind of friend that you have to be responsible with – hang out with them once a month, lean on them for emergencies and pay them back right away.

Coach Noah KachelskiStemming from the outskirts of Madison, Wisconsin, Coach Noah Kachelski is made his way to tri-states area where he graduated from the University of Dubuque with a Bachelor degree in Business Administration.

Kachelski started at Dupaco as a teller before moving up to being a member service representative. He takes pride in providing members with financial education, something that he feels isn’t taught much in schools unless someone seeks out classes for it.

With the up rise in college costs making it harder for young adults to save for large purchases, Kachelski has found that the students are leaning more on loans.  And therefore, he stresses that having a good credit score makes the most expensive things one purchases significantly cheaper due to lower interest rates and payments.

In order to achieve attractive rates and payment amounts, Kachelski’s number one piece of advice is to always make your payments on time. And despite credit cards having a bad rap, they are the easiest and quickest way to help (or hurt) your credit.  The main thing to remember? Be smart about how you use it by purchasing something you already intended to buy, and paying it off right away. Then, tuck the card away for the rest of the month.

Coach Mariko KurobeOriginally from north central Illinois, Coach Mariko Kurobe moved to Platteville where she attended college at the University of Wisconsin – Platteville and earned her Bachelor degree in Business Administration and Human Resource Management.

Kurobe joined Dupaco as a teller in October 2017 and is now a member service representative at the Pennsylvania Ave. branch in Dubuque.

Every day is a new adventure when Kurobe comes to work. She enjoys getting to know Dupaco’s members, understanding their financial needs, and helping them achieve their goals. And, she finds it rewarding to work in a place that truly believes in the “people helping people” cooperative philosophy.

Kurobe believes that understanding credit early on creates good financial habits and sets young adults up for lower interest rates in the future.

In addition to making payments on time, Kurobe urges members to keep an eye on the number of credit cards and loans they open in a year.  While many people assume that they need to open a handful of credit cards at once to increase the capacity aspect of their score, Kurobe cautions that doing this will actually have a negative impact on a score. This happens because each time your apply for a credit card, your score is pulled through an “inquiry”, and too many inquiries per year will start driving your score down.

Coach Kelsey NilgesCoach Kelsey Nilges is an Iowa native, from the small town of Sumner. She attended the University of Northern Iowa in Waterloo where she graduated with her Bachelor degree in Business Administration in 2017.

Nilges’ career started with Dupaco in October 2016 as a teller while she went to school. She is now a member service representative and consumer lender at the San Marnan Learning Lab in Waterloo.

She enjoys providing members with expert and personalized advice, seeing them run with it, and ultimately improving their financial position.

Nilges emphasizes that young adults need to show that they can borrow money responsibly and pay it back. And that establishing credit takes time, but if you do it right, the rewards will pay off.

Nilges recommends avoiding spending more than you have. Start with something small, such as a credit card or a Dupaco Credit Coach Loan, and work your way up; be sure that you can afford the payments and make them on time every month.

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