7 Ways to Build Credit Without Using a Credit Card
Trevor Mahoney is a financial services writer and content creator based out of Los Angeles, California. He holds a Bachelors of Science in Finance from Santa Clara University. In his free time, he enjoys hiking and lounging on the beach.Read full bio
At a Glance
Learning how to build your credit score quickly can allow you to have access to larger purchases in the future. However, understanding how to build credit without a credit card can seem challenging Fortunately, there are a number of key ways you can start to improve your score over time.
In this article, you’ll learn:
Why is it important to have a good credit score?
Your credit score will be a primary determining factor in whether or not you are approved for loans in the future. This is important because the majority of people need to borrow money for major purchases such as a home, car, boat, and more. By improving your credit score, you won’t only improve your likelihood of being approved, but also the interest rate you are offered.
Learn more: Why a Good Credit Score Matters?
How can you build credit without credit card?
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to learn how to establish credit without a credit card. In fact, there are seven main ways to build credit without a credit card, each of which offering unique possibilities:
1. Pay bills on time
First and foremost, any bills you currently have outstanding need to be paid on time and in full to start building your credit score up. Whether it’s debt or general bills, getting in the habit of making on time payments will benefit you down the road. If possible, pay more than the minimum amount each time your bills come due.
2. Repay student loans
For those who have student loans, focusing on making complete payments on a monthly basis is one of the best ways to boost your credit score. If keeping track of the payment due date is a challenge for you, consider setting a reminder on your phone or computer so that you never miss a deadline again.
3. Apply for a personal loan
Learning how to build credit without a card doesn’t mean immediately jumping into a major loan such as a mortgage. If you have an emergency expense that you don’t have funds for on-hand, taking out a personal loan can be an excellent choice. With loan amounts ranging from $1,000-$100,000, a personal loan can be used for a variety of purposes, and on-time payments will help bolster your credit score.
Learn more: How to apply for a personal loan?
4. Consider a car loan
Those looking to build credit without credit cards should consider purchasing their first ever car. An auto loan is usually one of the first loans a person takes out, and the relatively small monthly payments compared to other types of loans will be easier to meet. This can be an easy way to build credit without a credit score.
Related: Personal Loan Vs Auto Loan
5. Get a credit-builder loan
Credit-builder loans are a great way to start learning how to build credit without a credit card. These are specialty loans that allow you to borrow a small amount of debt to start paying back to show you are a reliable borrower. This can help you build up your credit score fast so that you can take out a larger loan.
Learn more: What is a Credit Builder Loan?
6. Utilize rent and utility payments
In some cases, you may be able to report your rent and utility payments to the credit bureaus to influence your credit score. Since you need to make these payments anyways, reporting them can be an excellent way to bolster your credit score without doing anything new.
Learn more: Do Utility Bills Build Credit?
7. Become an authorized user
If you’re trying to build your credit score without credit card payments, signing up as an authorized user on someone’s account is a great start. This means you receive the benefits from another person making payments on their loans and credit cards.
Related: Do Authorized Users Affect Credit?
Other tips to build credit without credit cards
In looking at the answer to can you build credit without a credit card, there are two additional primary tips to keep in mind:
1. Manage your debt-to-credit ratio
Many lenders will also look at your debt-to-credit ratio when considering giving you funds. This is the ratio of how much outstanding debt you have compared to the total amount you could borrow. Sometimes called your credit utilization, it’s best to keep your outstanding’s less than 30% of your total potential borrowing amount.
2. Lengthen your credit history
One of the biggest factors calculated in a credit score is the length of the oldest account. Take the time to simply keep your credit accounts open and your credit score could slowly start to increase throughout the years. This is one of the best ways to learn how to build credit fast without a credit card account, rather only using existing accounts.
Related: How to Improve Your Credit Score?
Yes, you can have good credit without a credit card by using alternative means of improving your credit, such as being an authorized user, paying bills on time or taking out an auto loan.
Your credit score is not determined solely by your credit card account, and your credit score can vary across the entire range from 300-850 without a single credit card account.
Credit cards are useful tools but they aren’t right for everybody. In some cases, personal loans may be a better option if you don’t believe you have the need for a revolving line of credit on a monthly basis.