Here are five ways that may help develop good financial habits and begin to build credit:

1. Establish banking relationships - open checking and savings accounts. This will not directly establish your credit history, but lenders typically ask for bank account numbers on credit applications. If the account remains in good standing, this can help the lender know that you can responsibly manage money.

2. Be consistent. When reviewing a credit or loan application, lenders look for a stable income source, work history, and place of residence.

3. Apply for a department store card or a gas card. These may be easier to obtain than regular credit cards and typically have lower credit limits. Be careful, however, as some of these cards come with high interest rates. It might be a good strategy to charge only small items and pay your card balance off in full each month.

4. Apply for a secured credit card. To help build your credit history, a secured card works like any other credit card, but requires a collateral account. Some companies will evaluate your history and may consider graduating you to an unsecured card if you meet their specific criteria.

5. Consider a co-signer or co-applicant. Applying with a cosigner or co-applicant may help you qualify or acquire better credit terms, but remember that your cosigner or co-applicant also takes responsibility for payment. That means the credit history will be reflected on both of your credit reports.

Once you’ve built your credit history, keep it moving in a positive direction. If you maintain your credit, manage your debt, and grow your savings, you will be better prepared to meet your financial goals.

Empower yourself with financial knowledge

We’re committed to helping you achieve financial success. Here you’ll find a wide range of helpful information, interactive tools, practical strategies, and more — all designed to help you increase your financial literacy and reach your financial goals.

My Financial Guide