So, how do you go about building a good credit history? First, check your credit report so that you can find out what your current history, if any, is like and so that you can be sure there are no surprises on it. If you are in the U.S. you can do that for free once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com. (You’ll get three reports from there, one for each credit reporting agency, and you can stagger those if you like so that you get one report every few months.) Next, check to be sure that the items reported there are accurate and yours. If they’re not, follow the instructions given to dispute them. Usually, it’s just a matter of checking off the reason you’re disputing the item in question. If they are accurate but negative, you may want to check out sites like www.creditboards.com for tips.
If you’ve never used credit before, you may need to have a cosigner for your first loan or credit card. (If so, make sure the person that cosigns for you has GOOD credit history as well.) You can also try getting a secured credit card from your bank, and then gradually move it to unsecured after you have used it for a while. Always make your payments on time, and avoid maxing out your cards or having too many of them. If you cancel a card, ask them to note that it’s being closed at the consumer’s request.