Safe, Quick, Way to Build Your Credit, Have Never Had a Credit Card Before...

Updated on April 30, 2010
M.M. asks from Horseshoe Beach, FL
23 answers

We have rented too long and are wanting to buy a house soon, the problem is....we don't have credit. We have never owned a credit card. Because we never wanted things to get out of hand. But now....we need some credit. We are 30 yrs old and I feel we would be responsible if we had one. But the main thing is we need to build credit, so in the future we can get a loan from a bank to pay for what we can't pay out of pocket. Any info will help! Thanks

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answers from Indianapolis on

Get a few credit cards, use them on small things, and pay them off every month in full.

We personally like using one either with cash back or rewards and put as many of our monthly expenses on for direct bill (cable, cell phones, etc) and groceries. We pay them off every month and get a nice cash back bonus at the end of the year.

I was 19 and in your situation where I could only buy a car at 10.75% because I had no credit. I paid it off a year early and got myself a really great credit score that has been a blessing in this economy.

Any purchases you need to make, be sure to be early or right on time. Any late payments will really wreck you.

I don't personally love Suzie Orman, but she and Dave Ramsey have really great, practical advice for people in your situation or trying to dig out of debt.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

You're getting bad advice. The idea of "credit" is largely an American myth.

Many people don't realize that you CAN easily get a mortgage if you have paid rent on time or early for a length of time. Talk to a mortgage broker (for free) to see what amount you qualify for--it will have everything to do with your income and LACK of debt and nothing to do with "credit." The only problem is having BAD credit, that can affect your interest rate...

Good for you for being "cash" consumers! Are you Dave Ramsay fans?

ADDED**** As I said, you're getting some inaccurate advice....ANTHING you can do with a credit card, you can do with a debit card and it is a proven fact that the psychological OVERSPENDING when using a credit card CANCELS out any perks like air miles, etc. Do not get sucked in by the credit groupthink going on in this country! Never before have so many people been caught in credit nightmares just because they don't think and PLAN for what they need and want!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Good for you for not falling into that credit card trap!!! If you have a nice down payment for a house then you shouldn't have to worry about building your credit up. Plus if you pay rent right now & have utilities then that can count. Have you had car loans? My suggestion would be to order your credit report & take it to a local bank & speak to the loan officer. I used to be a mortgage broker & your situation would have been fine with a nice down payment but so many things have changes so check before you start applying for credit cards & also note that applying for a credit card & using it doesnt mean that you will start off with "good" credit it. Initially it usually lowers your score before you get a higher score. I also will suggest buying a Dave Ramsey book or better yet taking a class, you are the perfect Dave Ramsey role model in regards to credit, take the class to understand what I am saying :)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Spokane on

We only have 1 CC with a only $1500 credit limit on it....we never use it, we have it for emergencys only but when we went to buy a car last time the car guy told us that we had pretty good credit but that we could improve it if we started using and paying off the CC every month. So, we started only paying our bills with it, then when the paycheck comes, we pay the CC off! It is pretty cool because we are building credit but still not using the card on anything unnecessary, and lots of bills can be scheduled to just get paid automatically these I only really need to worry about my utilities and then paying off the CC now...which cuts way down on my stress level and making sure I am not forgetting a bill! Pretty cool!

~I would defiantly talk to a mortgage broker...we bought a house and we didn't have any CC's, or a credit score that was all that high...we just didn't have BAD credit, there is a big difference!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Orlando on

I agree w/ Denise P, you don't need credit cards to get a mortgage, don't get sucked into it! Yes, you can get a free credit report, but I also suggest getting your FICO score, which will not be on a regular free credit report. I use services, they are reliable and safe. There is a small fee if you want just one credit report and a FICO score report, maybe $10 or 15? It will be worth it because you'll see right away what your FICO is and that's what counts. When getting a mortgage, FHA will be your best bet, since you are going with only a history of rent and utilities, etc(which is totally possible!!)... and they only require 3% down. You can also get Down Payment Assistance if you qualify, there are several programs out there. So, get your credit report, FICO score and find a good mortgage broker and get prequalified. If you don't have one, here is a reference, her specialty is helping 1st time buyers get mortgages and down payment assistance. She is extremely knowledgeable and very nice! GOOD LUCK!
Down Payment Assistance Specialist/Loan Officer
Enterprise Mortgage Group, LLC
1850 Lee Road, Suite 140
Winter Park, FL 32789
Direct: ###-###-####
Fax: ###-###-####


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Fort Walton Beach on

Hi MadieSue,

As a former credit exec, I say Bravo! Don't think that a credit card is what you need to build credit. There are many banks that give loans for homes to people who have never bought a home before without any credit to their name. You may have to jump through a few more hoops than others but you also will probably get a better interest rate as well.

Stay away from credit if you possibly can. The credit companies don't care anything about you and won't care if you fall on your face. They are all about profit and profit is higher when people fail. Dave Ramsey was a recommended read. I second that!

God bless!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on



answers from Orlando on

I am a Credit & Debt Coach.

You will want to establish a relationship with a Credit Union. You can get a secured loan to begin with. Also going to or to get a credit card. The limit will be low at first and they have fees, but it is worth it to begin to build your credit.

Any other questions, let me know.




answers from Miami on

Interview your bank's loan officer first, then shop around for mortgage lenders and bankers. DO NOT PAY ANY FEES for consultation, nor sign any commitment letters after.
If you do have a decent down payment, then that's what the sharks want.
Also, check with HUD for information on the "Obama" program.
You're sure to find the right program, AFTER you do the research.
I can recommend a very professional and honest couple: Mark and Michelle Levy ###-###-#### They work with a fabulous broker Cindy, whose number is not in my cell phone. They will give it to you. You may use my name, as they recently listed and sold a rental property of mine.
If you are already working with a broker, then shame for not giving you sound advice...I am licensed and have just given you that.
Blessings and good luck
S. White


answers from Phoenix on

You can also gte a credit card thru a jewlery store such as Kay Jewelers. Buy a nice piece of jewlery, make payments on it and when it's paid off, buy another piece, etc. As they see you making your payments on time and continuous purchases, they will start to raise your credit limit which is good as well. Good luck!



answers from Miami on

Hi M.,
I used to own a credit repair business, so this is something I know a lot about.
I have read the others responces to you and I have to tell you that with the current banking situation, banks are not giving loans to people without a good credit score and a track record of credit payments. We have the highest rate of foreclosures that we have have in decades! YOU MUST ESTABLISH CREDIT.

First you need to get a GAS Card. Believe it or not gas credit cards like Shell Amaco or Chevron cards really help to build credit.
Second, get a Department Store Credit card like Macy's JC Penny etc..
Third, apply for a major credit card like Visa. (Visa is the best to start with)

You have to use the cards consistently and pay every month ON TIME in order to build credit. To guard your self from getting into trouble designate what each card will be used for such as GAS, GROCERIES, TRAVEL, and ON LINE BILL PAYING. You can use your credit cards to pay your electric, phone etc.. then when the bill comes in pay it from your checking the way you would have normally.

Good luck



answers from Miami on

Did the same, no credit til 30. I went to a credit card company at that time called Providian (was over 12 yrs ago) and paid for credit. I forget but it was definately under $100 to get the card. And always used for small purchases and made sure to always pay on time. Then I started to get other offers in the mail for other cards. Established credit.



answers from Washington DC on

Lydia's suggestion is what I was going to say. When my husband and I were trying to rebuild credit we got credit cards through Orchard Bank. They have low limits (I think $200) and we have a $60 annual fee. The first year we had the fee but after that as L. as the account is in good standing the fee was waived. We used them to get gas and nothing else. Then when the bill came, we paid it off except for like $15. In a matter of 6 months our credit scores increased almost 100 pts! In less than 2 yrs we were able to buy a home and get an awesome interest rate because our credit scores were so good!



answers from Orlando on

Please talk to your bank about their current mortgage requirements. Due to the recent changes most will require you to have at least 3 trade lines (credit card, car loan, personal loan) open for a year to qualify for FHA VA or USDA loans. These are the loans that will let you buy with a lower down payment. You sound like you are being sensible about your money so as long as you look into the situation now and do some planning before you go house shopping you should be fine. By the way Bank of America offers a secured card that does not have all the excessive fees that Orchard or Premier do.



answers from Minneapolis on

When I was 22 and had no credit, I got a secured card like what has already been suggested. I paid on time for just 4 months or so and started getting offers for real credit cards. So, even doing that for a few months could show up on your record and help you right away.



answers from Casper on

If you are very disciplined you can build credit with credit cards fast - I know because I did it. Make sure to get one with a grace period. For example, I had my college tuition saved up from all summer. I put it on my credit card and then paid the balance when the bill came due. I used it for my regular expenses - bills, grocery shopping, etc., which was rather convenient, since I never went over my limit. I kept the balance paid in full. Credit consists of your ability to pay. Having accounts that are well used and consistently paid off is a very big boost. You should be careful with this, however. You can call and ask that your borrowing amount be limited, say to $3000 or so. The reason behind this is that when you do go to borrow money, lenders should look at the amount of loans you have open, and the credit card is considered a loan. So if you have an $8000 limit, that is $5000 more that the lender considers you have to pay back should you max everything out. Since he doesn't know your history, he has to consider that as a possibility. Long story short, he might say "why don't you use that loan to pay for _____?" and therefore not give you a loan or as much of a loan as you desire.

I think some companies like Verizon and possibly cable report to credit card companies also.

I started in my 20's and a few years later when I went to buy a car they told me my credit score was 711. Good luck.

If you had friends who had big purchases to make, you could offer to put it on your credit card and let them give you the money, but of course you would have to be careful. Either way, as long as you are never more than 30 days late for a payment your credit will grow. Just watch out for those late fees!

PS - I would not get a secured credit card. These are designed for people with very poor credit - why let someone else use your money? Take that money, put it in the bank, and that way should you come up on a hard spot you have money to pay your bill. Also, should things go wrong and you need to file bankrupt, the money is gone. Better to just pay it down every month.

I got a very good credit card because I was in a school organization - the American Society of Civil Engineers. The interest rate was 12% and there was no annual fee. Look for a deal like that. If you have not made many credit mistakes and are just looking to build it, you should be able to find a deal like that. Best of luck.



answers from Sarasota on

I just want to add my voice--you don't need credit cards to have credit!



answers from Boston on

I'm not sure how soon you are hoping to buy, but building credit can take time. If you have no credit at all, you may not be able to get a credit card the way someone with existing credit can. When I was 18, I started my credit with a "secured card." Basically, you send them some money (in my case it was $400) and that is your credit limit. I used the card regularly, but carefully and in probably 6 months, they bumped my limit to $800. The most important thing is to make sure to pay ON TIME every month. It looks really bad to be late on your secured card. Also, for a couple of months, don't pay off the whole balance. If your bill is $125 and your minimum is $15, pay $100. It actually makes your credit better when starting out to carry a (small) balance. (I'd recommend that you pay for things that you normally buy, phone, groceries, etc instead of buying new fun stuff!)
Another idea is to go to your bank and speak to a loan officer. See if there is a small personal loan that they can arrange for you to help build your credit.
Good luck!


answers from Tallahassee on

Having been divorced and my husband ruining my credit score (we had 1 joint loan and he defaulted on it!) I was still able to get a mortgage by my self. Kudos for NOT having credt debt. Talk to your bank where you presumably have a checking or savings account??

However if you still feel you want to boost your credit score, use a card for groceries & gas and pay off the balance each month.

They look at your income to debt ratio too - your must be great! The only draw back that I can think of to having "no" credit is that you don'dt have a payment history for the bank to check out. But like I said if you have a checking account and manage that well then they can see the type of person you are financially.

Talk to a bank or mortgage company FIRST.
Good luck
M. F



answers from San Francisco on

Get more than one card. Use the card(s) for everything, and pay them off in FULL every month.

As a bonus - if you are paying off your cards in full every month, and therefore not paying interest, you can get cards which give you cash or airline miles in rewards. I put everything on my credit card, pay no interest, and make about $1,200 in free money every year this way.



answers from Buffalo on

First Premier Bank has credit cards with a low balence low intrest and report your activity every couple of months. It increased my credit by 150 points in 6 months.



answers from Sarasota on

PLEASE get a credit report BEFORE doing anything. You are entitled to one credit report for free from each of the three credit agencies per year. The official, government approved site to obtain your free credit reports is:

I suggest getting a different one every three or four months to see what they have to say. You can start with the first one right away and take that to your bank and talk to a loan officer to see what you would need to be approved for a loan. After that you can start planning your strategy if you need to build more credit.

IF you do get a credit card, get ONE to start with and ALWAYS pay it off every month. Make sure the credit card company provides online access to your account so you can track your spending on it regularly (weekly), so you can make sure you are staying within budget to pay it off when it is due.

Hope this helps!




answers from Tampa on

If you bought a car and made payments that counts towards your credit. Your rent also counts towards your credit. You don't have to have a credit card to establish credit. I had a perfect credit score and never owned a credit card at that time. There are many ways to build credit without having a credit card. A good bank would explain all of this to you.

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