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spearskym34

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I am trying to buy a home and get a car but i do not have any credit,
how do I get credit. Or find out my credit score?

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You're In Good Company

Hi, spearskym34.

I’ve been there.  Actually, at some point we all have been so you’re in good company. 

In regards to finding your credit score, you can obtain your actual FICO score (currently the industry standard) through the three credit bureaus - that is (TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.  Keep in mind that each weighs their criteria differently so your scores are almost always different from one to the other.  CreditKarma, which gives us our VantageScore (not the standard in the industry yet), is still an excellent source for monitoring your credit and typically if you see your VantageScore rising or falling, you can be pretty confident that your FICO score is trending along those same lines even if the actual points gained or lost is different.

As for building credit, it is partially an issue of time because even once you have credit it is time that shows lenders that a person has used that credit responsibly.  So, with all due respect to Einstein and relativity, there isn't anything we can do realistically to speed up that part, but there are a few things that can hopefully help you lay the initial groundwork for establishing credit.

1) Find a good credit union and speak to one of their professionals inside the branch.  Though every situation is different, credit unions tend to be more willing to work with customers who do not have much in the way of credit.  Hopefully they will be willing to issue you a credit card or even a small signature loan.  To help build credit years ago I obtained a signature loan (I think mine was $1,000 with a term of 12 months) and placed those funds immediately into a savings account with that institution. Each month I paid down the loan (for this you can even use the bank's own money which you placed in savings), and I paid off the loan early after 6-8 months.  That gave me a loan in my credit file with no payments late or missed.

2) You can open a secured credit card (Capital One is very popular for this).  These cards can be relatively easy to obtain because you deposit a small sum ($50.00 for example) with the institution, and in turn the institution will issue you a credit line of, for example, $200.00.  No matter the credit card, it is just really important to remember to manage the account carefully (i.e., try not to exceed 20% of the credit limit, ensure every payment is made on time).  After a few months of properly managing the account, the can even call customer service or access your account on the internet to ask for a credit line increase.

3) National jewelry stores (Kay’s, Zales, etc.) and some department stores (JCPenny, Sears, etc.) seem to be pretty lenient with their issuance of credit.  You could try to obtain a credit card from one of these stores.  Just be aware that if you don’t use the card after a period of time (12-24 months typically) the store may opt to close the account which doesn’t help (and can actually hurt) a score.  If you get one of these cards, it will typically have a fairly decent credit line but in the past I only used it to have a mixture of cards on my credit file.  To keep it open I would buy a small inexpensive gift for someone every now and then using the card, followed by paying off that gift off when the statement came in (that’s important because the interest rates on these store cards tend to be ridiculous).

4) If you know someone who you have a close relationship with, and that person has excellent credit, you can ask them to add you as an authorized user to one of their oldest credit cards.  You don't ever have to use the card, but as an authorized user the credit bureaus add it to your file.

5) You could always attempt to have a co-signer with excellent credit obtain the loan with you, but that is a route I have always deemed an absolute last resort. A co-signer is different than having someone add you as an authorized user.  The person adding you as a card user maintains total control of their account and if they did not give you a card, frankly, it doesn't have much impact on them.  Someone co-signing, however, immediately exposes them to being responsible for a loan that isn't even theirs and from which they obtained little to no benefit should, God forbid, a payment be missed or a loan default becomes possible. That tanks the co-signers score just as it does the person who actually benefited from the loan.  Because of the risks involved with co-signing, that is not a favor I would want to ask of anyone even if it is an option.

I hope the above helps.  By the way, you’ll also want to be careful not to apply for too many credit accounts within a short period of time.  The credit bureaus rank that person as being more of a risk if it appears that they are applying for credit all over the place.  To prevent identity theft as you apply for credit at different places, you may also want to research freezing your credit bureau accounts at some point.  That way you help secure the good credit I’m sure you are on your way to having. Try to stay patient as you work through the credit building phase and good luck with everything.  I hope it all works out.

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I'm assuming you've never had a credit card, a good way to start out would be through your personal bank. If you have been with them for some time and have shown that you have always had a decent amount in your checking account, they should be able to approve you for a card with them. That's how I got my first card through Wells Fargo. Using that card and making payments will report onto your score! Which you would be able to see on here. If for some reason you cannont get a card through your own bank, I would then reccomend Capital One. They have their Journey card which is sort of like a student card, and they have their Secured Mastercard. Where you make a deposite and depending on how much you put in, that would determine your limit. Hope this helped some.

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