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How to Establish Credit

If you've always paid cash or used checks to make purchases, and haven't used credit, it's a good idea to start. A solid credit history can help you borrow money for a big purchase like a house or car, get better rates, or even get the job or apartment you want.
At first, credit may seem like a catch-22 — you can't get any because you don't have a credit history. In fact, many lenders will consider a nontraditional credit history if you have a limited credit history or no credit history. Presenting a series of paid receipts and cancelled checks for rent, utilities, and car insurance payments made on a consistent basis can \help you document a pattern of paying your monthly obligations on time.
In addition, there are a number of things you can do to start establishing credit:
Put your apartment and utilities in your own name
This allows you to establish a regular payment history under your own name and Social Security number.
Get a Wells Fargo Secured Visa® credit card
If you have no credit history or have been turned down for credit in the past, the Secured Visa Card is a great first step toward building a good credit history.
A Secured card allows you to spend up to the credit limit you establish by funding your Secured Card Collateral Account, which is held as security for your credit card account. You may be eligible to graduate to an unsecured Wells Fargo Visa card in 12 months.1
Apply for a Wells Fargo College Visa card
The College Visa Card is our credit card that's tailored just for college students. Charge your necessities and entertainment while you establish your credit history. You'll receive special student promotions and discounts as well as the quarterly credit education newsletters and monthly student credit education tips.
Start credit with a local business
Apply for department store and oil company credit cards. Don't get a new store credit card every time you get a discount offer, but it's good to have one or two cards to start your credit history.
Use your credit wisely
To start building your credit history, use your card to make purchases, but don't go over your credit limit, and pay your bills on time. Pay at least the minimum payment due each month, or more if you can. For more tips on smart credit use, read "How to Maintain Good Credit."
1 Applies to new accounts only. Eligibility is restricted to permanent U.S. residents. Wells Fargo will determine which credit bureau and which credit bureau score to use. Additional criteria apply.