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Building my wife's credit from nothing

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Regular Contributor

Building my wife's credit from nothing

My wife just immigrated to the US about a month ago. She has no credit history good or bad in the US. Where do we start if we want to build her credit? Will adding her to my credit cards make a big difference? How long before she establishes a score if we do that and how fast can we expect her score to go up? What are some other steps we can take?

My credit cards:
DCU $1000 limit $300 balance currently will pay down at least $100 before next statement
NFCU $1600 limit $475 balance currently will pay down at least $100 before next statement
Cap One $300 limit maxed out will pay to 0 before statement not on credit report yet
Chase Amazon $500 limit 0 balance not on credit report yet
Amazon store card $800 limit o balance just reported to credit

23% overall utilization. I want to get it below 10% soon and keep it there. Had a situation come up I needed the credit cards for.
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Established Member

Re: Building my wife's credit from nothing

I am far from an expert on this but will share my experience as I'm sure others will chime in. I added my daughter to one of my credit cards (a walmart card). She had no credit whatevsoever and at 19 yrs old and living out of state, I thought this would be a way for her to get things locally if she needed them or to take advantage of their quick cash option in the event of an emergency. I never thought about it building her credit. I gave her a $500 limit and paid it off each month. 

 

Within a few months she started getting credit card offers (for small amounts) in the mail in her own name. I believe the first one she got was a Capital One card with a yearly fee.  She's gotten others over time, but adding her to my account seemed to get that ball rolling. I'd say if my experience is common it won't take long at all. 

10/2015 - EQ 706, TU 682, EX 650 Current - EQ 714, TU 724, EX 788
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Super Contributor

Re: Building my wife's credit from nothing

Great feedback from LLMel.

 

Adding her as an AU to one card is a great idea.  You should choose either your DCU or NFCU card, since they are your oldest.  You should also make sure you have it reporting as a small positive balance ($10 say) each month.

 

After it has been appearing like that on all her reports like that for a couple months, she should have a true FICO score.  Use the $1 trial at Credit Check Total to find out what her FICO 8 scores are.  Then she can pick an appropriate credit card to add.  People seem to say great things about Discover for people new to credit.  She mght want to add two cards.

 

At this point the AU account can go to a $0 balance with her having one card reporting a small balance and the other reporting a small balance like $10.

 

Next step would be for her to add a $500 Share Secure loan with Alliant and pay off most of it.  The theory behind that and the instructions are here:

 

http://ficoforums.myfico.com/t5/Understanding-FICO-Scoring/Adding-an-installment-loan-the-Share-Secu...

 

She just needs to read the first 2-3 posts.

 

2-3 months after that she could add two more cards if she wants.  Then coast for a few years and watch her scores go up.

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Super Contributor

Re: Building my wife's credit from nothing


@jg1983 wrote:
What are some other steps we can take?

23% overall utilization. I want to get it below 10% soon and keep it there. Had a situation come up I needed the credit cards for.

Some other steps:

 

Always pay your cards in full (with the proviso that rare emergencies can happen)

 

Make sure your overall utilization is < 8.99% -- if you are trying to get every extra scoring point in a particular month.

 

Do the SS loan trick with Alliant if you have no open installment loans.

 

Implement autopay on every credit carrd so that there is no way you could ever miss a payment.

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Valued Contributor

Re: Building my wife's credit from nothing

Great info here. How old are your cards?

You only need to add your wife to 1 or 2 cards.

 

Do you have any open loan? You can follow the SSL technique also. You want at least 1 open loan to max score.

 

I see that you have 3 new accounts. You should garden and grow your limits. Good luck.

 

Freecreditscore is a good way to get a free EX FICO score/report each month. Most of my cards pulled EX, so it is good to have it. Just wait a few months after adding your wife, so they can find her file.

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