Betty first became aware of Working Credit via an email that she received through her involvement with the Cook County Promise Pilot. The Cook County Promise Pilot is the largest guaranteed income pilot program in the country. It uniquely is studying the economic impact of pairing an unrestricted $500 monthly cash payment along with voluntarily free one-on-one financial credit-building support – provided by Working Credit. After reading the email, Betty was intrigued. “My credit wasn’t good, and I’d always thought about improving it but didn’t know how. I was drowning in bills, paying the minimum, and not getting anywhere.”

“I found out about credit the hard way.” Betty got her first credit card when she was 18 and admits she didn’t understand how credit worked. “If a person knows how to use credit, it would be different.” Betty says, “It’s like credit card companies don’t care. They want you to pay as much interest as possible, and that can take you years to pay off!”

Betty seized the opportunity to better her situation and scheduled her first appointment with a Working Credit counselor. “Brandon [credit-building counselor] has been great! He helped me to understand how the credit world works.” Betty says that one of the first steps she and Brandon took was creating a budget. “Creating a budget with Brandon was very helpful. I double-check my budget at least once a week. Brandon helped me to understand what I had to pay first, so I gained more clarity and organization.” Betty also mentioned that her Working Credit counselor has helped her get her utilization ratio below 30%. In the credit industry, the term utilization ratio is a percentage that refers to the amount of credit a person is using divided by the total amount of credit available to them. The term is primarily used when referring to credit cards, also called revolving credit.

Where will Betty go from here? “I want to buy a house!” She beamed. My way of thinking has changed. I’m more responsible and only spend what I know I can pay off.” Betty concluded that now she knows, “The better I get my credit, the less I’ll have to pay in interest when purchasing my home .” Now for Betty, homeownership — a pathway for wealth creation — is well within reach.