If you are in college, you will be bombarded with credit card offers. It is smart to take one (and use the card prudently, of course). Young students can get cards even though they have no income or credit records. Issuers tacitly assume that if they can’t pay, their parents will. Once students leave school, however, that presumption vanishes. So they should grab a card and start a credit history while they still get the benefit of the doubt. Don’t put more on the card than you can pay for! Otherwise, you will start out in life with wrecked credit and a mountain of student loans and car title loans Atlanta.
Sometimes parents are asked to co-sign their student’s card. Assuming that you trust the child, go ahead and do it. Credit cards can help kids out of a jam like a car breakdown on the way home from college. They are accepted in places where a personal check might not be. Once children are well established, they can cancel the co-signed card and get one entirely on their own. Any debt on the old card should either be paid off or transferred to the new one.
If you do not have the college student advantage, start your credit life with a checking account at a bank or S&L. After a few months, apply for a Visa or MasterCard. If you are turned down, make an appointment with the credit card manager and ask what you have to do to qualify. Then do it.
If you have had a steady job and address for a few months, go to a major retailer (one that will report your payment history to a credit bureau) and apply for a charge account. At the start, you will be given a low line of credit, but that does not matter. Once you prove your reliability, you will be able to charge more.
What if you are a widow whose credit history and credit cards were all in your late husband’s name? This problem occurs much less than it used to; all credit held jointly is now reported in both spouses names. You might have a credit history without knowing it, so check and see.
If you do not, however, start with a bank where you have always done business. Instead of applying for a card and letting the computer turn you down, make a personal appointment with the credit manager from the commercial vehicle title loans.