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Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships

Establishing Credit


How to Start Establishing Credit While in College:


Check your credit report. You'll first want to see what, if anything, lenders are saying about you.


Establish checking and savings accounts. Here's a basic step that's sometimes overlooked by people seeking credit: lenders see bank accounts as a sign of stability.

Have Bills in Your Name. Did you know that if you are renting an apartment, having at least one of the utilities in your name will help build credit? If you have a cell phone, but your parents still pay for it, ask to have your name added to the account.


Piggyback on someone else's good credit. The fastest way to establish a credit history can be to "borrow" another's record, either by being added to a credit card as a joint account holder or by getting someone to co-sign a loan for you.


Apply for a Credit Card or a Secured Card. If you can't get a regular credit card, apply for the secured version. These require you to deposit money with a lender; your credit limit is usually equal to the deposit.

What is a FICO Score?

Every day, thousands of U.S. lenders use FICO Scores to make more well-informed credit-granting decisions. But what does that mean for you? And why is it important to understand how lenders use them?

This video takes a look at what a FICO Score is and why it matters to consumers and lenders alike. Watch to learn how FICO Scores streamline the lending process, making it faster and fairer for you.

What goes into FICO Scores?

Whether you’re applying for a credit card, mortgage, or auto loan, there’s a good chance your lender is using FICO Scores to help make their approval decision. The good news is, your FICO Scores are ultimately in your hands—they’re based on your credit habits and behaviors.

That’s why understanding what goes into your FICO Scores is a vital part of your credit health. Watch this video to learn the five key categories that factor into your scores.