By Reid Kanaley The Philadelphia Inquirer
Building credit for the first time in your life or rebuilding credit after a personal financial disaster is a tough assignment. But with some pointers from experts, and dedication to personal discipline, it can be done.
First, see where you stand at the moment with the credit-rating agencies, says Dave Roos at HowStuffWorks, who cites one report that said 50 million American adults have no credit history at all. Roos’ list of credit-building steps seems aimed at those 50 million, presumably young or poor individuals, but the lessons are for everyone. Build credit by opening accounts and paying your bills on time. His last two steps sound simple, but just try them: Get a good job; and don’t mess up. tinyurl.com/dh-buildcredit1
There’s just one sure site for getting the free credit reports that Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are required to provide to you once a year — though only if you ask. That site is www.annualcreditreport.com. Note that you won’t be getting free credit “scores,” just the reports. The agencies can, and will, charge you to see your scores. tinyurl.com/dh-buildcredit3
Establishing credit for the first time seems to carry a catch-22: You need credit to get credit. This article at About.com has some suggestions that clear a path for first-time credit-building. The key step is to open checking and savings accounts at a local bank. That bank then should be your first stop for a credit card or loan. tinyurl.com/dh-buildcredit4