When I first turned 18, applying for new credit was tough. My credit score was barely a 600 and no one (and I MEAN NO ONE) would give me an approval for my first credit card. I even tried getting a new car loan to buy a cheap Honda Civic DX; I was not approved. In the rejection letter, it said I needed to have a credit score of at least a 600 to qualify.
The problem was simple, I needed to establish a credit history to get the higher score.
But, how do you do that when your credit score is in the mid 500’s or early 600’s and no one will give you credit to build the payment history?
Read my story below of how I got my credit store to build from a 550, 600, 640, 650 and finally a 700.
The most frustrating part of my experience trying to obtain my first credit account was not the constant rejection from creditors, it was seeing my friends getting approved and I did not know how they were doing it. If you’re a young adult with little to no credit history, it’s almost impossible to get a student loan, a credit card, an auto loan, or rent an apartment without having a co-signer. If you truly want to be independent and not burden your parents, this can be a real hassle.
My Credit Score Was A High 500 When I Got My First Credit Card
By the time I turned 19, it finally happened for me. I was at Macy’s doing some clothes shopping and decided on a whim to apply for one of their credit cards. The cashier had offered it to me. I was taking a chance and had no idea if they would approve or not approve me.
Initially, I was turned down, but then a week later they reconsidered and gave me a Macy’s credit card with an unsecured 100 dollar limit. They mailed it to me with an approval letter.
Once I got that first credit card I was in. It was unsecured, and I could start building a payment history to raise my credit score. To learn more about what a credit score actually is, check out this Wikipedia article about FICO.
My Credit Score Goes From 600 To 700 In A Years’ Time
After using my new Macy’s credit card for a few months and paying it off every month, they bumped up my available credit from 100 to 500 dollars.
Shortly after that happened, I checked my credit report for the first time and I saw that my credit score had jumped from being under 580 to a 600.
Then I got another credit card by Discover Card with a 2,000 dollar limit. After one more year my credit score was a high 690.
Building up an on-time payment history to creditors was building my credit score and making me feel like an adult.
Buying My First Home And New Car With My 700 Credit Score
Finally, I had a 700 credit score and it allowed me to easily qualify for first-time home buyer financing using an FHA loan.
The dream was real, I was finally ready to buy my first home when I turned 21. I remember the mortgage broker telling me that without some type of credit payment history, there was no way I could have become a homeowner at such a young age! Also, I could have qualified easily for a mortgage much earlier with a credit score of just 650 to 680.
I closed escrow, got the keys, and moved out of my parent’s house. Freedom at last.
Six months after my home purchase and having a mortgage reporting on-time payments to my credit report, my score jumped up to a whopping 720.
My old Toyota MR2 sports car was not practical anymore being a homeowner, so I used my good credit to easily get an auto loan with a low interest rate and bought my first new car ever, a Toyota Tacoma 4X4. That sure made trips back and forth to Home Depot easy.
Related posts: The Story Of My Toyota Tacoma Truck!
Last Words On Getting Loans and Credit Cards
Today in the year 2019, that Macy’s credit card would be a horrible first credit card to apply for as the requirements are much stricter now. Plus, credit cards are always changing their terms so it’s best to do a search on Google for the keywords “best first credit card to apply for” to see what you can find.
Recently I found a pretty good article that lists some fantastic first credit cards. Check out: 7 Great Picks for Your First Credit Card
Please Don’t Go Mindlessly Into Debt!
Instead, learn to control your debt by using your credit cards to purchase everyday items and pay off the balance every month. It’s the easiest way to build up a high credit score. For the bigger purchases you make in life, it’s also OK to use an Auto Loan or Mortgage. Just don’t overdo it!
Tell me about your credit building story, was your journey as a young adult hard? Comment below.