HOW TO BUILD CREDIT AT 18: Detailed Guide

How to build credit at 18

A high credit score can help you save significantly on interest and fees. However, when you first become an adult, you are likely to have little or no credit history. You might have trouble getting a loan or renting an apartment if you don’t have a co-signer. If you want to qualify for a loan on your own or improve your chances of getting lower interest rates, you should learn how to build credit at 18 fast with no job and credit cards. We’ll go over the fundamentals of credit scores and reports, as well as give you some pointers on how to build credit at 18 with no job and no credit card.

How to Build Credit at 18 Fast

Building credit at the age of 18 is an important part of becoming an adult. These seven tips will show you how to build credit at 18 fast.

#1. Understand the fundamentals of credit scores and reports

Your credit score is determined by the information in your credit reports. Understanding how both works is the first step toward learning how to build and maintain credit at the age of 18 fast.

Credit ratings

Your credit score is a three-digit number that lenders use to determine how risky you are as a borrower. The higher your credit score, the better your chances of getting the best interest rates and loan terms. When reviewing your loan application, lenders frequently use the FICO credit scoring model. This model’s most popular version has a scoring system that ranges from 350 to 850.

Credit reports

A credit report is like a report card for your finances because it gives the lender a summary of your payment history, a list of your credit accounts, and the balances you still owe on them. While a positive payment history on credit accounts can help you improve your credit, negative payment history can hurt it. A payment that is more than 30 days late, for example, is usually reported to one of the three major credit bureaus—Experian, Transunion, or Equifax.

#2. Examine your credit score and report

You’ll need to check your credit score and credit reports to keep track of your progress. You can check your credit score for free by visiting a free credit score website or by contacting your credit card company. You can also access your credit reports for free at

#3. Obtain authorized user status

Asking someone with good credit to add you as an authorized user on their credit card is one way to add payment history to your report. If their positive payment history is added to your credit report when they add you, it may improve your credit score.

#4. Apply for a secured credit card

Open a secured credit card instead if you want to be responsible for your credit card. A secured credit card requires a security deposit to open a credit line. The deposit amount becomes your credit limit—the most you can charge. A lender is more likely to approve your application if you have little or no credit history because you’re making a deposit.

#5. Make on-time payments

Because your payment history accounts for 35% of your FICO score, you must pay your bills on time. This entails paying all of your bills on time each month, not just your credit cards. If you do not pay your bills on time, the company may report a late payment to the three major credit bureaus.

#6. Maintain a low credit card balance

Keep your credit utilization (the amount of credit you use in comparison to your credit limits) low to improve your score. Keep your credit utilization rate under 30% as a general rule of thumb. This means that if your credit card limit is $1,000, you should avoid borrowing more than $300 at a time.

#7. Obtain a loan

If you obtain a student loan, personal loan, or car loan and repay it on time, you will be able to build credit at the age of 18 fast. However, if you don’t need a loan, don’t take out those types of loans just to build credit. Instead, get a credit-building loan. A credit-builder loan is specifically designed to help you build credit.

How to Build Credit At 18 With No Job

Your credit history and score are crucial. They give you the ability to borrow money and make large purchases. People usually receive paychecks from their jobs and pay their bills on time. But what if you don’t have a job or a track record of employment? Is it still possible to build or maintain credit without working? The following are three ways to build credit at the age of 18, whether you have a job or not.

Here are three ways to build your credit score when you’re 18 and have no job:

#1. Credit cards

A credit card is one of the simplest lines of credit to obtain. You don’t need to work to get a credit card, but you will need to show proof of income on credit card applications. This is typically your work history. However, if you don’t have a job, you’ll have to rely on other means to demonstrate your ability to pay. You can demonstrate that your spouse earns money if you have a bank account. Alternatively, you can demonstrate a sizable cash reserve in a savings account.

There are also secured credit cards available. A deposit for the card may be required by the card issuer. They will then provide you with a small credit line. If you are unable to pay your bill, the deposit can be applied to it. Some secured cards can be turned into full credit cards after a certain number of payments are made on time. Your current bank almost certainly provides secured credit cards.

A credit card or a secured card will not improve your credit score overnight. However, they can be a powerful tool for building credit when you’re 18 and unemployed. You could ask to be added as an authorized user to the credit card of your spouse or partner. Authorized users do not always receive the same score boosts as those who have their cards. At first, being an authorized user may give your FICO score a small boost, but this isn’t likely to last.

#2. Credit utilization

Credit utilization accounts for nearly one-third of your credit score. The major credit bureaus keep track of how much of your credit line you use. That is, if you spend $1,000 on a card with a $10,000 limit each month, your credit utilization is 10%.

Creditors are concerned about credit utilization because they want to know how frequently and for what you use your credit card. If you’re 18 and trying to build credit without a job, keeping your utilization low is critical. Make small purchases with your card and pay them off every month. If your credit utilization rate rises, it can hurt your credit score.

#3. Concentrate on your overall score

Your credit score is more than just a measure of how much money you can comfortably borrow. It includes information such as how long you’ve had a credit line, payment history, other credit lines, how much you owe, and more. Lenders are given this, along with your credit report, which contains your personal information, before they lend money.

If you can build credit at the age of 18 without a steady job, make sure your score is on track. Don’t just concentrate on credit lines, but also on your other habits. You must pay your bills on time and in full. You’ll notice growth and changes to your credit report over time, and you can get a free copy of it once a year.

How to Build Credit At 18 With No Credit Card

Cards aren’t your only option for increasing your credit score. Credit reporting agencies often use purchases and payments made with credit cards to figure out how creditworthy you are, but this method is not limited to cards.

#1. Take out a credit builder loan.

If you have a “thin” credit report or a low credit score, it may be hard for you to get a traditional loan. This is where a credit builder loan can help.

When you apply for a credit builder loan, the full amount, which is usually between $300 and $1,000, is put into a safe account. Unlike a traditional loan, you do not have immediate access to the funds. Instead, you make a fixed monthly payment until the loan is paid off in full, and then you receive the loan proceeds (minus any applicable fees) at the end of the loan term.

#2. Request a personal loan

Personal loans provide another way to build credit at 18 without opening a credit card by simply making on-time payments and repaying the loan in full as soon as possible. Even though the APRs on these loans are often higher than those on credit builder loans (especially if you don’t have much credit history or haven’t paid back loans in the past), they can help you build a strong credit history.

#3. Consider getting a car loan.

When you make on-time payments on your car loan, it counts toward your credit score. If you pay cash, you won’t get this benefit, so if you need a car and want to build credit, look for a low-to-medium APR with affordable monthly payments.

#4. Pay off an existing loan

Repaying existing loans, such as student loans, can help your credit score if you pay on time and don’t default. If you are already working on repaying your student loans, for example, you are improving your credit score as long as you make payments by your loan terms.

#5. Report alternate payments

Many lenders now understand that student loans, auto loans, and personal loans are only the tip of the credit iceberg. As a result, they’re often willing to consider alternative payment data to help you build credit when you’re 18 and don’t have a credit card.

#6. Request a secured credit card.

Because cardholders must provide a cash deposit in advance, secured credit cards have lower approval thresholds than their unsecured counterparts. The amount of this deposit is usually equal to your available credit, so a $200 deposit gets you $200 in credit, a $500 deposit gets you $500, and so on. Secured cards work in the same way as debit cards, but instead of a checking account, you rely on your cash deposit.

#7. Rent and utility payments

Even though most landlords don’t report your monthly rent payment to credit bureaus, this regular payment schedule can help show that you’re responsible with your money. Your rent payments are one of the most consistent recurring payments that consumers face each month, and if you always pay your rent or other utility bills on time, your credit score may benefit.

What credit score do most 18-year-olds have?

According to Credit Karma, the average credit score for 18-24-year-olds is 630, and the average credit score for 25-30-year-olds is 628. Credit scores are classified differently by FICO, and a 630 is considered “fair.”

Do you get credit when you turn 18?

Turning 18 does not initiate your credit score; rather, it allows you to open credit cards and begin taking loans to build credit and earn your credit score.

Do 18-year-olds have credit?

The vast majority of 18-year-olds are credit-invisible, which means they have no established credit history with any of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).

How can I build my credit at 18 without a credit card?

Here is how to build credit without using a credit card

  • Apply for a credit builder loan.
  • Make an application for a personal loan.
  • Think about getting a car loan.
  • Pay off an existing loan.
  • Document alternate payments.
  • Obtain a secured credit card.
  • Become a registered user.
  • Rent and utility payments

How can a 19-year-old build credit?

What Is the Most Effective Way for a Young Person to Build Credit:

  • Obtain authorization to use a parent’s credit card.
  • Sign up for a Student or Secured Credit Card.
  • Make on-time payments on your student loans.
  • Get a credit-building loan.
  • Include your monthly bills in your Experian credit report.
  • Use Experian GoTM to generate an Experian credit report.

What is the fastest way to build credit?

Methods for establishing credit:

  • Become an authorized user on a credit card. 
  • Consider getting a job.
  • Apply for your credit card.
  • Maintain a record of your credit score.
  • Pay your bills on time.
  • Make a larger payment than the minimum.

How do you build credit when you have no credit?

Three things to do if you have no credit history:

  • Register as an authorized user. Becoming an authorized user on a family member’s or friend’s credit card is one of the quickest and easiest ways to build credit.
  • Obtain a secured credit card.
  • Obtain credit for on-time payment of monthly utility and cell phone bills.

How can a student build credit?

Here are some steps you can take to get started.

  • Register as an authorized user.
  • Apply for a student credit card.
  • Apply for a secured credit card.
  • Obtain a co-signer.
  • Avoid applying for too many credit cards at once.
  • Maintain a consistent payment history.
  • Spend with caution.
  • Keep a close eye on your account.

How do I build my credit?

Here are some quick credit-improvement strategies:

  • Strategically pay credit card balances.
  • Request increased credit limits.
  • Become a registered user.
  • Always pay your bills on time.
  • Dispute credit report errors.
  • Handle collection accounts.
  • Make use of a secured credit card.
  • Apply for rent and utility payment credit.


Due to a lack of credit history, gaining access to credit as an adult can be difficult. Take some of the steps outlined above to build credit at 18 with no job and a credit card to address this issue. Remember that keeping your credit utilization ratio low and paying your bills on time are two of the most important things you can do to build credit. Though it will take time to build a good credit score, developing good credit habits now can save you thousands of dollars throughout your life.

Frequently Asked Questions

How fast can you build credit?

It usually takes at least six months to obtain your first credit score. It takes longer to establish good or excellent credit. If you follow the credit-building tips above and avoid the potential pitfalls, your credit score should continue to rise.

What credit do you start with?


The most popular credit-reporting models begin with a credit score of 300. Starting with a score of around 300 is only possible if your finances have been poorly managed. You can start building a credit history or improve your credit score without using credit.

Does everyone start off with good credit?

Because everyone’s credit journey is unique, there is no universal starting score. You will not, however, begin with a score of zero. You simply will not have a score. This is because your credit scores are not calculated until a lender or another entity requests it to determine your creditworthiness.


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