Money 101: Best Ways to Build Great Credit without Credit Cards

How Do I build My Credit Score_ APC

Foolproof Methods to Grow Credit When You Have None

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What is Credit?

We know that a credit score is important, but how do you get credit when you have none?

Especially since no credit is worse than not having any at all. Don’t worry I will explain 🙂

Credit, and or, a credit score helps lenders decide whether to approve you for a loan. Or you can view credit score as a three digit number lenders use to determine if you will pay them back.

So if you plan to own your own ANYTHING, you will need a credit score. A lot of people think this means you HAVE to get a credit card, or you have to bust your whole check. Wrong.

In 5 Simple Steps I’ll show you how you can grow your credit score while in college.

If you’d rather listen than read.. check out my podcast

Make the Wise Choice | Podcast

I’m going to assume you don’t know too much about the terminology, read this to catch up.

  • Cosigner- A person with a good credit history established, and is going to sign paperwork that will make him or her financially responsible for paying if you cannot pay. This is binding and will affect both of your credit scores.
  • Credit Score- a three digit number that is compiled from different agencies that look at your payment history etc.
  • Soft Pull/Inquiry- Lenders are able to peek at your score without lowering it.
  • Hard Pull/Inquiry- Lenders are able to peek at your score, but this lowers it by a few points (Points usually take a few months to build back up, and yes every hard pull docks points) **Always ask if soft pulls are available, or check it yourself here. and offer to show them from a reputable source like**
  • Minimum Payment- lowest amount required to be paid during that billing period Word to the Wise-pay at least double the amount of your minimum payment
  • Annual Fee- Fee you pay each year for having that particular credit card (Not necessary now, avoid if possible)
  • APR- Annual Percentage Rate and Interest Rates are the same when dealing with credit cards.
  • Transaction Fees- Can also appear as “Foreign Transaction Fees,” fancy term for if your money passes through a foreign bank.
  • Credit Report- Creditors publish a private report on your payment history, and payment habits. May also include: information on past and current credit balances, number of on-time and late payments, total number of open accounts.

So, if you’re still in high-school, or maybe don’t have a reliable cosigner

What are your options?

Now I’m all about examples, and I’m a walking testimony that we can make credit card companies our bitch. Excuse my french 😉

I received my first credit card at 18, I’m 21 years old now and my credit score is 781. You can do this.

I’m sure you’re curious how to build your credit without credit cards.

Top 3 Ways to Grow Credit you may not have thought of

1) Put a bill in your name that WILL GET PAID. For example: utilities, water, cable bill or Netflix account could have your name on it and as long as it’s getting paid in full, and on time, you are on your way to building your own credit history.

Some students buy a phone, and pay their monthly bill. This is an option, but you can save over $100 by staying on your family plan, which I highly recommend if you have one.

2) Another favorite that will get your feet wet are retail cards, but… Let me explain the catch.

So pick your favorite clothing, or necessity store that offers credit cards. Amazon, Walmart, Sephora, Victoria Secret etc.. and you can compare cards like this at

After you select your options: this is where you get picky.

Beware the gimmicks! Suuure, who wouldn’t love a credit card to their favorite store that can swipe forever? Big companies know that and they’re going to try to lure you in with cards that offer

  • No Annual Fees
  • Retail Card Limits- several hundred dollars or 1,000+
  • Reduced or NO APR for X months. For example that means no interest (extra taxes) on your balances. APR will wear off. After that time is up…they’re coming at your neck.

Real Life Example

After you have your card there may be a 24 month period where all your purchases are interest free. That’s how they will try to get you!

Don’t spend a lot because…after the time is up your CC Company may charge 29% APR. That much APR percentage is death to your wallet. NEVER get a card with a high APR unless you are 1,000 percent sure you will not be tempted to buy too much.

Word to the Wise: Apply for 3.99% -5.99% best for personal loans. APR for credit cards: 7.99% – 15.99%.

You can only use the retail card at that particular store btw. Gas cards are a popular option as well, but check guidelines for each card is different in nature and responsibility.

Store/Retail cards are great to use if you buy the amount you would normally buy and pay it off in full, and on time. That’s the catch. Got it? If not, read my example below love.

Great tip I use to avoid debt, and streamline payment so I have no excuses:

If I know I’m going to Victoria Secret and I’m going to shop the 5 panties for $27 sale, I’ll have $35 in cash: or on my debit card. I make my purchase with my credit card, (deposit the cash if I hadn’t already), and wait until my purchase is posted on my credit card. Then, I’ll set up my account so I can pay from my phone.

BOOM! Building credit, and not indebted. (screenshot below offers proof)

Another tip I have is to not get goo-goo-eyed over these low minimum payments.

To illustrate, If you owe $100.00, but only pay the monthly minimum of $25.00 this is how you end up getting yourself in more debt.

Word to the Wise: at least double your minimum payments. Don’t forget Credit Cards make money from you being in debt. Don’t make it easy for them!

3) Finally, another way to build credit without cards would be to borrow a small personal loan from your bank. My loan officer told me personally that if you do this, do not pay it all back at once.

Part of determining your reliability is whether you can make full payments on time. I did this incorrectly by borrowing and paying it all back 1 month later. It does more harm than good. So pay your monthly payment for at least 6 months before paying it all back. (While you’re at the bank check those APR% rates for student accounts)

I hope you took great notes, but still here’s a recap:

  • Get a bill in your name that gets paid regularly, and in full
  • Sign-up for a gas card to avoid most tripwire. Or get a retail/store card, but remember the catch: don’t fall for high APR
  • Always pay at least double your minimum payment before it’s due, if you can’t pay your total balance completely off
  • If you borrow a loan from your bank pay according to your payment schedule, paying it off too quickly can hurt you.

Did you want to check out real credit cards but don’t know how to research/compare? Check this out.

P.S. My personal favorite is Discover. Best cashback system I’ve seen, and missed payment forgiveness.

In this post I talk about Discover, and how I reached a 740 credit score in two years.

There is a method to the madness aforementioned: Below is a screenshot of my CURRENT Score

(update 781)

Build your credit without credit cards
There is a method to the madness; I promise

Feel free to post any questions you may have, and be sure to share with someone.

Ciao loves,


6 Replies on “Money 101: Best Ways to Build Great Credit without Credit Cards

  1. This is a really great post – I’m so happy to have found another college blogger that talks about money! And this is so important. Stores love to lure in students to get them into debt! If only everyone took the steps you outlined above… there’d be less debt and a healthier financial situation.

    1. Araminta, thank you, your comment made my day!! I’m happy I found you too, and I hope to bring a little more awareness about what credit card companies have going on. You’ll be first to know when I post on the fact that, once you GET good credit, they’ll mail you offers to lure you in deeper still…smh

      I have tips and tricks on how to watch out for that too 😉

        1. Well next I was going to post me proving that retail cards can work in your best interest-pun intended 😉
          But is there something you’d like to see, or something we could collab on? I’m all for it, email me anytime love.

          1. That’s really great – I have no idea how to use retail cards. But I honestly think it’s a very important topic that college students need to know about… I’d love to read your post and then make a similar one but UK version (and link it back to yours)? Just putting some thoughts out there but let me know what you think 🙂

            1. Well that would be fine love. Email me the link whenever your post is complete. My posts will follow in the coming week. 😉

Any wise words?

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