Looking to buy a new computer. While I can afford to buy it outright, I'm looking to get a loan to help make my credit a touch better. But I'm wondering if I should just go with a line of credit, that way I have something for emergencies once the computer is payed off. Will keeping the LoC paid up increase my credit score like a paid loan will? Or should I stick with the loan?
Assuming you have a credit card, I recommend you use it for the purchase.
It gets you two things at the very least:
Gets the purchases reported as credit utilization. If you handle that correctly, you can improve your score
Most card vendors give extended warranty and return policies that a retailer or manufacturer does not without extra fees.
I buy all my electronics using my cards and not only does that optimize my scores but I have been able to enjoy painless/better RMAs for defective products just because my AmEx card would have refunded me the money anyways and the retailers knew it (AmEx would have recovered it from them in the end so it was in their interest to resolve the matter within 30 days)
You're likely not going to get the result you desire from taking out a Personal Loan or a Line of Credit to pay for the computer and you'll pay dearly as well.
When it comes to credit, utilization (the amount of actual debt you have on revolving trade lines) is negatively inverted with your actual score. You'll also pay interest when you're carrying a balance on any loan without any reason to do so (why pay the bank money for no reason?)
The most important things you can have on your credit report is:
- Payment History
If you open the Line of Credit and have no balance carried at all it should report favorably on your credit report. This will help your utilization, payment history, and "Average Age of Accounts" (AAoA).
In short, you can use the Line of Credit or Personal Loan to enhance your credit, but there is no need to carry a balance to do so (and doing so can negatively affect your credit depending on how the account is reported).
Buy the computer using a Credit Card for some of the reasons already mentioned if they appeal to you, but don't pay interest unnecessarily as a sort of credit tax. It isn't a valuable use of your money.