Building credit from scratch can seem overwhelming, but with dedication and a solid plan, anyone can establish good credit. This step-by-step guide provides basic information for beginners looking to start their credit journey.
1. Open a checking and savings account
Being able to save money and manage expenses is the foundation for building good credit. Open a checking and savings account and make sure to keep a good balance in both.
2. Apply for a Secured Credit Card
Secured credit cards require users to put down a security deposit, which serves as the line of credit. These cards are a great way to build credit from scratch because they report to credit bureaus just like regular credit cards. Be sure to use the card responsibly by making small charges and paying them off on time each month.
3. Maintain a good payment history
Making on-time payments is crucial to building good credit. Late payments and missed payments will negatively impact credit scores. Set reminders or automate payments to avoid missing any.
4. Stay under credit limits
Maintaining a low credit utilization rate (the amount of credit being used compared to the total credit limit) is important for building good credit. Using no more than 30% of the credit limit is recommended. For example, if the credit limit is $500, only charging up to $150 per month is ideal.
5. Monitor credit reports
Checking credit reports regularly will provide insight into credit scores and what areas need improvement. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) allows everyone to access their reports for free each year. Make sure to report any inaccuracies and errors to credit bureaus and have them corrected as soon as possible.
6. Consider a Credit Builder Loan
Credit Builder Loans are designed to help people build credit from scratch. They are typically small loans, ranging from $300 to $1,000, that require monthly payments for a designated amount of time. Payments are reported to the credit bureaus, helping to build a positive payment history.
7. Have patience
Building credit takes time and effort. It’s important to know that establishing good credit doesn’t happen overnight. By practicing good credit habits and being patient, it’s possible to build and maintain solid credit over time.
In summary, building credit from scratch requires dedication and a clear plan. By opening a checking and savings account, applying for a secured credit card, maintaining a good payment history, staying under credit limits, monitoring credit reports, considering a Credit Builder Loan, and having patience, anyone can establish a strong credit foundation.