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A Guide to Establishing Credit


Establishing credit can feel like a Catch 22 process. Lenders look at your credit history, contained in your credit report, in order to judge your credit worthiness. But you need to have had credit in order to have a credit history. A good credit history not only makes obtaining credit to purchase big ticket items easier, but it may have an impact on the job you get or the apartment that you are able to rent.

Don't be discouraged if you are just starting out. The fact is that banks want to loan money and to issue credit cards. A trustworthy borrower is a valuable asset to a lender. In a nutshell the process of establishing credit is the process of proving to potential lenders that you are going to be a trustworthy borrower.

Banks look at several things before they issue credit to an individual beside their credit report. They check for income stability, employment history, amount of money in savings and any land or valuable assets that the potential borrower owns. The better these things look to the lender, the more likely they are to offer credit.

Here are the steps to take to establish credit:

  • Open a checking account.
    Lenders expect to be repaid. Most commonly you will do that by writing a check or using your bank's online bill paying service. By having a checking account you are telling any potential lenders that you are ready to pay your bills.

  • Prepare a budget.
    A budget is nothing more than a plan. Where does my money come from and where does it go? It's your money and a budget puts you in control of it. Then put your budget into motion, fine tune it and make it as part of your life

  • Open a savings account.
    Part of any good budget is a plan to save money. Savings accounts help to cushion emergencies, provide the resources for irregular purchases and, most importantly, set the means for your financial goals. Having a savings account tells the potential lender that you have a sound financial plan.

  • Look at your Credit Reports.
    Check your credit reports for accuracy. Report any errors immediately. You can purchase an Equifax 3-in-1 Credit Report for less than $30. This is highly recommended before applying for credit and periodically ( at least once every three to five years ) to insure that you get the credit that you deserve.

  • Assess your credit worthiness.
    Look at your credit reports. Look at your budget. Do you have the means to repay a loan? Does having a credit card at this stage of your life make sense? Be cautious and realistic. Only apply for credit if you are sure that credit is right for you at this time

  • Be patient.
    One thing lenders look for is stability. If you have a new job or have recently moved, wait six months to apply for credit. If you are due for promotion or a raise, wait till these things happen before applying for credit.

  • Consider a secured credit card.
    Secured cards are a great first step for those with little or no credit history. They have all the functionality and usefulness of their unsecured cousins and using them responsibly lets potential lenders know that you are properly prepared for credit.

  • Apply for a Credit Card
    Once you have taken the steps above and feel you are ready, there are card issuers who work with customers seeking to establish credit. If you are a college student looking to establish , we have put a selection of student offers here.

Our Assessment
Obtaining credit is a necessary part of almost everyone's financial plan. Establishing credit means putting your finances in shape so that any potential lenders know that you are ready and able to pay your bills. You should not try to look like you are creditworthy. You should be creditworthy


Also see: (Understanding Credit Reports & Scores)




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