I am a 23-year-old medical student. I am very, very fortunate to still receive financial help from my parents, and I pay the rest of my bills with student loans. I came to med school straight out of undergrad, so I've never had a *real* job. I have no credit history apart from student loans. I recently realized that I should start building my credit now (should've started 5 years ago, but oh well), so that when I get out into the real world in a few years I will at least have some kind of head start. I've been looking into getting a credit card to buy something small once a month that I would ordinarily pay with debit card and immediately pay off the balance. I was looking into getting something like the Capital One Secured Mastercard. I made an account with Nerd Wallet just to see what my credit score would be with only student loans as my credit history, but I was shocked to see that they listed my credit score as 780! When I looked under payment history, I saw a credit card account with a start date 3 years before I was born. That's my parents' credit card. When I started college, they put me on their account so I would have a way to pay for big car repairs and medical bills without draining my checking account. They pay the bill, not me. I know Nerd Wallet is just a free service, so it may not be an accurate credit score. Would a legit credit service looking at my credit score not be fooled by my parents' credit card account that my name is tagged onto and calculate my credit score differently? If so, how do I figure out what my real credit score is? Or does it even matter? Should I just go ahead and get a secured credit card and start building my credit anyway? Thanks in advance!
I'm not familiar with nerdwallet. I'm guessing they give out free VantageScore?
You'll need your FICO scores. You can obtain it for $1 at experian.com or creditchecktotal.com. Cancel in 7 days or less to avoid the re-occurring monthly charge.
I would not recommend Capital One secured card. Recent data points show they will not graduate.
Did you try Capital One's pre-qual site and see if you received any offers besides the secured card?
I would recommend trying other pre-qual sites such as CITI, Discover, American Express.
One secured card I would recommend is Bank of America $99 deposit with $500 credit line. BoA secured cards can graduate early. They offer soft pull credit limit increases too.
Hi & Welcome to the forums!
Yes, being an authorized user (AU) on your parents' card helps because it gives your file age. However, it's not doing anything to build *your* credit history because you are not legally responsible for the debt. So yes, you should open a card for which you are the primary cardholder - and yes, starting with a secured card is fine. Adding your first card (as a primary) will also yield a score boost.
Your student loans are also helping tremendously by fulfilling the installment portion of your credit mix. I highly recommend paying the interest on your loans while they are in deferment though, if you are not already doing so.
As for scores - Nerd Wallet is providing a score based on the Vantage 3 model which differs from FICO in how it weighs various aspects of your credit and how it responds to changes. Vantage and FICO can vary by as much as +/-100 points on some profiles. You need to monitor your FICO scores as they are what the overwhelming majority of lenders use to make credit decisions.
Based on the info you've provided, I'd guess your FICOs to be in the lower-mid 700s as it is considered young and thin, but clean (no negatives). You can go to Experian.com and sign up for their 7-day trial to get all 3 FICO 8 scores - just be sure to cancel before the trial ends if you do not want the monthly service.
Check prequalifications with Chase, Citi, Amex, and Discover. I have three daughters that graduated with better credit than the person that paid their tuition. Most higher education institutions sell student data to banks. They know who they are lending to.
Thanks. I've had a savings account at a local credit union in my hometown (large midwest city) since I was a kid, and I recently opened a CD with them. Should I look into getting my first credit card through them, or just hold that off until later? They don't have a branch in the town I'm currently living in, but as long as I don't physically have to go into the branch that often, it shouldn't be a problem.