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"Start From Scratch" Credit Builders Handbook

Valued Contributor

Re: "Start From Scratch" Credit Builders Handbook

tornadoguy wrote:

As I have said elsewhere, a fantastic writeup that really deserves to be stickied.

In the new to the US section I would consider adding a line about establishing a bank relationship (this worked for a friend of mine who deposited a large amount (>10k) with a bank, and appears to have worked for me), something to the effect of:

- Try establishing a relationship with a local bank or credit union that you would like a card with. While not as instaneous as some of the options, if you open a checking account with one of the banks or a credit union and make a large deposit or regularly input your salary into it, it may assist in getting a card. The limit may be small, but its a foot in the door.

Thanks, tornadoguy! Will definitely add that to the post, as it is an excellent way to build credit especially while new to the US!


@sergi; feel free to post and/or message any recommendations you have! I'll be sure to credit you and tornadoguy on the sticky, as well as a general "thank-you" to the forum, since some of the advice has been picked up from the threads!


thanks again for the recommendations! I have off from work on wednesday, and I typically get very bored when I get through multiple pages of the threads, so this will be the perfect day for me to edit!

Message 11 of 13

Re: "Start From Scratch" Credit Builders Handbook

This is a hard one to sticky as there's multiple different paths: it's not one size fits all even when it comes to building out of no-file status which this post appears mostly geared to.  Speaking as a forum member I think it's a great start, and I do like the: "No File?  No Score?  No Problem!" approach.


I'd suggest fleshing out some of the options as right now it sort of struck me as advertising for Citi and Cap One. Smiley Happy.  Wasn't your intention to be sure, but there's give or take 5 very good secured cards that have varying strengths and weakenesses as an example, of which Cap One is only one.  There's likewise a number of respectable student cards as well.  This is a post which requires non-trivial care and feeding I suspect as lender offerings change all the time.


There's some information lacking on what one should be shooting for in initial building (2-3 tradelines, may have missed that statement); also as an example it varies substantially if one does need the secured route if one only has $100, or one has $10000 that can be tied up for a year.  Bonus points for establishing secured installment loans as well for those which don't have them on their reports.


Finally it's probably best served off in Gen Credit or similar; not particularly intrinsic to CC forum.  That's easy to move later.


My thoughts anyway.



Starting Score: EQ 5 561, TU 98 567, EX 2 599 (12/30/11)
Current Score: EQ 5 771, TU 4 741, EX 2 776, EQ 8 809, TU 8 774, EX 8 822 (1/1/18)
Goal Score:    EQ 5 771, TU 4 750, EX 2 776, EQ 8 809, TU 8 774, EX 8 822 (01/01/19)

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Message 12 of 13
New Contributor

Re: "Start From Scratch" Credit Builders Handbook

Great post! Even though I'm not completely starting from scratch, I'm still new to the whole world of credit in general and am slowly working on improving my credit so I can get some good loans in the next few years. I could have used a good tutorial or just general education back when I was totally brand new and, overwhelmed by the idea of credit scores and cards and rates, I just took a shot in the dark. As it happens, I have been extremely lucky so far.


I guess I'd like to add my own bit of personal experience here: The summer after I graduate college and heading to grad school I decided that having a credit card was part of being an adult but knew nothing about credit cards or what an APR was or how they even worked, really. I had absolutely no credit history to speak of whatsoever. I saw the Citi Forward for Students card on a recommended cards page and applied and, after sending them proof of enrollment, lo and behold I was approved! Worst APR, but got a generous $3k credit limit (and this was using my measly grad stipend as a salary)! Later, it was auto-increased to $5k. I didn't even truly appreciate or use the rewards system properly until recently, and I let some pretty high balances report (paid in full each time, but didn't know anything about utilization) - I want to kick myself a little when I think about this and wish I had read a guide like this. But anyway, I wanted to provide a little optimism for people who are starting out and clueless - I have noticed that this card seems to be regarded as somewhat difficult to obtain on these forums, but I wanted to add my piece as someone who was, as far as anyone might think, the target applicant for a student credit card designed for college students with presumably little to no credit. I understand that these things vary wildly and somewhat inexplicably but with some luck, starting your credit history will not necessarily be as daunting a task as you might think.


I've had my Citi Forward card for just over two years now and only just recently opened a second CL (Amex BCP), so I'm still on the first part of the road and eager to proceed with the wisdom and advice I've picked up on this forum Smiley Happy

Message 13 of 13