There are many of benefits to building credit, even as a teenager. From getting low-interest rates and great perks on credit cards one day to qualifying for a car loan or a mortgage, building a good credit profile is essential to achieving what many see as “the good life.”
But building a credit history when you don't have any is anything but straightforward. Having a savings account, a checking account, a debit card, and even a job won't help with building credit. Thankfully, we know what will. This post will walk you through how to start building credit as a 17-year-old.
Become an Authorized User
Legally, the minimum age for anyone to open up a credit card on their own is 18. That said, one tried and true way a minor (or anyone for that matter) can build credit is to become an authorized user on someone else's credit card. Whether a parent, guardian or other trusted adult, the key to this method is to simply have your name added to the account. There's no need to make any purchases or do anything else. Just be sure that the person whose credit card you're on has good credit, makes their credit card payments on time, and keeps a low credit utilization rate.
Be a Co-Signer on a Loan
Almost all financial institutions will allow a teenager to co-sign a loan, assuming the primary person on the loan has a good credit score. What does the loan need to be for? It doesn't really matter. It can be a car loan, a personal loan, a student loan, even a home equity loan or line of credit.
Get a Student Credit Card or Secured Credit card at 18
While it certainly helps to build credit in creative ways as a teenager, nothing can help you build a good credit history quickly as getting your own credit card. Whether a college student credit card or a secured credit card, having your first credit card in your own name will signal to lenders you are interested in participating in the world of credit. If you always pay your monthly bill and at least the monthly minimum, you remain below your credit limit, and stay out of significant credit card debt, you'll begin to build a credit rating to help you navigate business, educational, and personal finances for the rest of your life.
Interested in credit-builder loans or in opening a credit card account? Reach out to TDECU about our financial products, including loans and credit cards, today.