you do not have a well established credit history,
you should begin to build one. The trick is to start
small: try applying for credit with a local
business, such as a department store or a local bank
or credit union. These local merchants may have
lower credit standards than larger lenders.
apply for credit, make sure the credit grantor
reports credit history information to one of the
major U.S. credit bureaus so you can build your
Other options if you are having difficulty opening a
credit account include asking a friend or family
member to cosign your loan or credit card
application or obtaining a secured card, which is
guaranteed by a deposit you make with the card
Actively Monitor and Manage Your Credit
most obvious thing you can do to build a solid
credit history is to pay your bills on time, you can
also take steps to protect your credit standing and
make sure your credit report is accurate when you
apply for credit.
reports contain inaccuracies, usually caused by
innocent errors but occasionally by fraud (such as
identity fraud, in which a thief uses someone else's
name to open credit accounts). The Fair Credit
Reporting Act ensures your right to dispute such
inaccuracies in your credit report without charge.
effectively use this right, you need to be aware of
what information appears on your credit report. One
easy and inexpensive way to do this is by ordering a
copy of your credit report online from
This company also offers an excellent monitoring
service, allowing you to detect mis-reported
information. Monitoring is important, so you can get
any errors corrected as they surface.
Click here to
Credit Report when you sign up for a 30 Day Free
Trial of CreditCheck Monitoring.
You can also plan a credit strategy much like you
would a budget to improve your credit worthiness.
Taking steps like applying for a major credit card
if you only have local credit, closing old unused
credit accounts, and keeping tabs on the number of
inquiries in your report can improve your credit
Skip the "Credit Repair" Clinics
Although some consumers pay credit clinics hundreds
or even thousands of dollars to "fix"
their credit reports, only time can improve bad
credit. The Federal Trade Commission has
investigated and reported at length on these
often-fraudulent "clinics." And some
credit repair plans actually encourage you to commit
fraud yourself by attempting to create a second
The key fact: There is nothing a credit repair
clinic can legally do to fix a credit report that
you can't do yourself for free.
Consumer credit reports contain easy-to-follow
instructions for disputing inaccurate information at
no charge. Inaccurate information will be changed or
deleted. Accurate information that shows negative
payment habits will usually remain on a credit
report for seven years, with bankruptcies remaining
up to 10 years. Federal law mandates this.