When can you start building credit?


The sooner you start building credit, the better off you’ll be in the future. You may be thinking, “I’m too young to start building credit.” Well, that simply isn’t true! You can begin building your credit almost as soon as you have an account that reports to the credit bureaus.

Credit scores are based on your payment history. The longer you have a credit card and the more accounts you have in good standing, the better your score will be. Additionally, the more often and consistently you use those accounts responsibly, the more your score will rise. So if you’re in high school or college and want to build up a good credit score before applying for loans or buying a car or house later in life, there’s really no time like right now!

Build credit with a secured credit card.

The most common way to get started is through a secured card. Secured cards require a deposit of anywhere from $200 to $500 (depending on your income and financial situation), which serves as collateral in case you default on any payments due. Once approved for a secured card, it’s important to use it responsibly and make all payments on time—otherwise, your deposit will be at risk for failing to meet the terms of the card agreement. Just like with any other type of credit card, though, establishing responsible usage habits with a secured card will help pave the way for access to more flexible and valuable unsecured cards down the line.

Some other card options to start building credit.

In addition to a secured card, you may want to consider a store-specific card, issued by a retailer for use within their own stores.  These cards often have more lenient qualification criteria than those of standard credit cards.  If possible, you can also try to become an authorized user on a credit card held by a parent or other trusted person.  As an authorized user, you’ll benefit from the positive credit history of the primary account holder.

Review your credit report for errors.

As you work to establish credit, keep an eye on your credit report to make sure there are no errors. If you find any errors, contact Dovly, an automated credit engine, to help you dispute them with the credit bureau. Give it a try risk-free with our free membership tier.

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