Build Credit Without a Credit Card & Steps to Practice Good Credit Habits.
Build Credit Without a Credit Card: For most of us the necessity for a good credit history is inevitable. It’s hard to get a loan, a credit card or even an apartment if you don’t have a credit history.
So, good credit history is important in these times. Credit cards provide the quickest road to enhanced financial status in many situations, but what if your current score is not good enough to qualify for a card? Thankfully only a small portion of your credit score is focused on getting credit cards and using them. However, consumers who are unable-or unwilling-to obtain a credit card may otherwise build a credit history. And here’s how.
Ways to build credit without a credit card
When it comes to building up your credit score, cards aren’t your only option. If you’re making payments on time and keeping your debt-to-credit ratio low you can build up enough credit to qualify for the card you want. your credit score
Apply for a personal loan
Personal loans can also help build credit if you make payments on time and pay back the loan in full as soon as possible. While these loans typically have higher APRs than credit builder loans (especially if you have a limited credit history or previously defaulted on loans), they can help establish a solid credit starting point.
Repay an existing loan
Repaying existing loans — such as student loans — can improve your credit rating if you pay on time and don’t default on the loan.
Report alternate payments
Many creditors now recognize that student loans, auto loans, and personal loans are just the tip of the credit iceberg. As a result, they’re often willing to consider alternative payment data to help build your credit score.
Get a credit builder loan
Credit builder loans offer a great way to build credit because you’re making regular payments but aren’t spending extra money. All payments are reported to major credit bureaus to help boost your credit rating.
Become an authorized user
Many credit companies allow cardholders to add authorized users. As an authorized user, you receive a physical card and access to the main cardholder’s line of credit — all without a credit check.
This lets you make purchases and have overall card activity reported to credit bureaus without requiring you to apply for a card on your own. It’s worth noting, however, if the main cardholder fails to make payments or spends above the credit limit, your credit will also be impacted.
While most landlords don’t report your monthly rent payment to credit agencies, this consistent payment structure can help demonstrate a pattern of financial consistency. Other recurring payments, such as cable, internet, and mobile phone contracts, can also help boost your credit. Ask your landlord and telecommunication provider to report your data or contact credit agencies directly.
Consider a car loan
Car loans count toward good credit when you make on-time payments. You won’t reap this benefit if you pay cash, so if you need a car and want to build credit, look for a low-to-medium APR with monthly payments you can afford.
Apply for a secured credit card
Secured credit cards have lower approval thresholds than their unsecured counterparts because cardholders need to supply a cash deposit in advance. Secured cards let you make purchases and payments and may even come with cash back or other bonuses.
How to Practice good credit habits
Practice these good credit habits to build your score and show that you’re creditworthy:
Make 100% of your payments on time, not only with credit accounts but also with other accounts, such as utility bills. Bills that go unpaid may be sold to a collection agency, which will seriously hurt your credit.
If you use credit cards, keep your credit utilization low — utilization is the percentage of your credit limit you use. We recommend keeping your credit utilization below 30% on all cards.
Avoid applying for multiple credit accounts close together; applications for credit can cause a small, temporary drop in your score. Multiple applications can cause significant damage. NerdWallet recommends spacing applications by about six months.
Keep credit card accounts open. Unless you have a compelling reason to close an account, consider keeping it open. Closing an account can hurt your credit utilization and reduce your average account age.
How to Keep Track of Your Credit
To make sure your hard work is paying off, periodically check your credit score and monitor your improvement. As your credit report builds and your score begins to rise, it will become easier to get approved for credit cards, loans and other financial products.
It will also help you in situations where your credit may be checked, such as when you’re signing up for new utilities, applying for a job or applying to rent a home or apartment.
First Time Card User? How to Build Your Credit with a Card
If you’re just starting out and building your credit from scratch, consider applying for a student credit card or a secured credit card designed for people with little or no credit.
We recommend starting with one of these entry-level credit cards, which generally don’t require a long or robust credit history for approval. Here’s a breakdown of the various types you may want to consider:
Secured credit cards require a cash deposit that serves as collateral if you miss a payment. If you can, find a card that doesn’t charge an annual fee. And make sure the credit card company reports to all three major credit bureaus, which can help you build or rebuild credit with responsible use.ss
Student credit cards give students and young cardholders the chance to build credit — and they may even come with promotional offers and rewards. One potential drawback is that they typically have lower credit limits and higher interest rates.
Store credit cards not only help consumers save money at their favorite stores, but they may also give those with little or no credit a chance to prove they can handle money responsibly. Beware of the high-interest rates these cards may charge if you carry a balance.
If you’re able to make one of these options work, you should be on your way to an improved score in no time. Just remember, it’s important to take the process seriously and pay all of your bills on time every single month.
While on-time payments can help your score climb, it’s also true that a few late payments can wreck previous progress. And when it comes to building credit or improving your credit, the last thing you need is another hurdle to climb.