It is always a challenge to build credit when you don’t have a transaction history. If you’re over 40 and recovering from a bankruptcy or other adverse financial solutions, it can feel impossible to improve your situation.
There are ways to build credit, whether you’re just getting started or trying to recover after a few bad years. Here are the things you should do.
1. Be an Authorized User
If you become an authorized user on another person’s card, you’ll start to establish a positive credit history. Since you have zero liability to the account, it’s a low-risk way to begin generating favorable information.
You don’t want to be affiliated with an account with bad credit, so it helps to choose someone who uses their card responsibly.
2. Use a Secured Credit Card
When you don’t have any credit at all, a secured credit card can help you establish the foundations of a positive reputation. You’ll need to pay a deposit to get a credit line, with the amount usually around $200 to $500.
Some lenders charge an annual fee that gets taken from that amount immediately, so choose one that delivers welcome bonuses, rewards, and no added costs to start building your credit.
3. Utility and Cell Phone Bills
Some people don’t want to use credit cards as a way to improve their scores. If you’d rather avoid debt, you can use a tool like Experian Boost™ to have your utility bills and other obligations added to your score. Even qualifying streaming payments can get included in this matrix so that your scores get better.
If you have a positive banking history, it might help to connect your account to your credit score to give things a boost. Although it takes time to establish a reputation, you can get results quickly with these options.