As far as I know I have no credit history as I have never had a loan or credit card. I buy things using a debit card tied to my credit union bank account and prefer not to have a credit card at all. I am considering buying a credit-builder loan but am not sure how well they work. Is there any other more sure way?

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    What is the reason you prefer not to have a credit card? Are you afraid you will abuse it and go into debt?
    – TTT
    Jul 13, 2019 at 21:00
  • It's another layer of complexity I prefer not to have to hassle with. I could live with it if RonJohn's comment on mhoran_psprep's answer is accurate. Jul 13, 2019 at 21:02
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    Understood. Both RonJohn and mhoran_psprep are correct. :)
    – TTT
    Jul 13, 2019 at 21:10
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    @enthdegree: Debit cards are IMHO FAR more complex than credit cards.
    – jamesqf
    Jul 14, 2019 at 17:25
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    @jamesqf - they give far more risk for far fewer benefits. Try booking a car and hotel room with a debit card. Jul 15, 2019 at 0:25

3 Answers 3


Get a credit card. I know you said you don't want one, but they build credit and don't have to cost you money. They also offer more protection than a debit card.

If you pay it off by the due date there is no interest or penalties charged, but you gain points for using credit wisely.

You may find that a credit card is accepted for renting a car when many will not accept a debit card.

Loans cost money.

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    +1 to this. When paying off the CC every month, it becomes, in effect, a "deferred debit card that scammers can't wipe out".
    – RonJohn
    Jul 13, 2019 at 20:05
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    +1 as well. In the US credit cards generally have stronger consumer protections against fraud and theft then debit cards. They may also have cash rebate or milage programs. The key though is to pay the card off completely every month. Jul 13, 2019 at 21:18
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    +1, but ! You are taking on debt. It's just that it's free.... But on the same note You need to learn how to handle debt for the same reason you need to build credit. If you're never getting a loan you don't really need to build your credit. If you build your credit to get a loan you obviously should be sure that you can handle the loan. Either way, get a credit card !
    – xyious
    Jul 15, 2019 at 18:37

Interestingly, I am in a similar situation. I graduate at the end of this year and would also like to open a credit card. I applied for one through American Express and was turned down, though I do have assets. I was turned down because I don't yet have credit. Weird, right? To get a credit card, you need to have a credit history...

Except not really. Apparently, there's the option of getting a secured credit card; at Bank of America, for example, getting one does not require having a credit history, and is apparently the best way to build credit when starting out (according to the rep I spoke with on the phone).

I don't know how it works for other banks, but at BoA, it requires that you allocate anywhere between $300 and $10,000 towards the card. Think of it as you signing a contract with yourself to live within your means and only use as much "credit" as you've given yourself. Then, you can purchase with the card, pay it off using your own money, and earn credit essentially for free, since they'll report the payments to credit bureaus.

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    I think American Express is rather different (much pickier) than the normal MasterCard & Visa credit card issuers. Try a few of them before resorting to the secured cards. The secured card is not "for free", since you're foregoing whatever interest or investment income you'd earn on the security deposit.
    – jamesqf
    Jul 14, 2019 at 17:31
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    @jamesqf Oh, I didn't even think of that. Though I don't have a savings anyway, and whatever interest I'd be earning is measly anyway, so shrug.
    – AleksandrH
    Jul 14, 2019 at 17:43
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    "Discover it" is a great choice for students, and one of the few paying rewards which can be gotten with a thin history.
    – Ben Voigt
    Jul 17, 2019 at 4:11
  • The Discover secured card was a great option, having very little credit history. After a year or so of making on-time payments it was automatically converted to unsecured, the security deposit was refunded, and was given a real credit limit. Jul 26, 2019 at 18:12

A credit history is your record of paying debt on time. Ergo, if you've never had any debt, you can't have a record of paying debt on time.

The exception to this is that when you are made an authorized user on another person's credit card, that card and its history are imputed to your credit score. (My kids instantly had great credit scores when they turned 18. Other kids might have not so good scores when they turn 18.


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