How to Build Credit

Get tips on the best ways to build credit—even if you’re a young adult.

Laura Adams, MBA,
April 12, 2010
Episode #169

Money Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Building Credit from Scratch

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In past articles I’ve talked about the importance of your credit score and ways you can increase it. But increasing your credit score is even more of a challenge when you’re also building it for the first time. You’ve heard of a catch 22? It’s like this: You can’t build a credit history without a credit card or loan, but you can’t get a card or loan without a good credit history! Financial institutions have credit standards that are stricter than ever these days. And if you’re a young adult it’s even harder: financial institutions generally aren’t sympathetic to the fact that as a young person, you simply haven’t had much time to establish credit.

Building Credit is Hard for Young Adults

The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009 just made it even tougher on young people. Card companies used to set up booths on college campuses and offer promotional goodies to entice students to sign up for a credit card. Not anymore. Those types of marketing efforts are now prohibited. The regulations that kicked in earlier this year put a real damper on the credit party. They put a new spin on the term “getting carded”. Now, if you’re under the age of 21, you have to show sufficient income or assets to get a credit card.


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