Experian Go is a free service and app that helps you begin building credit so you can establish a credit score. The app does this by assessing your personal situation with credit then suggesting moves you can make to get on the right path.
The Experian Go app is free to use, and it makes it easy to monitor your credit and track your progress over time. You can even use this service to build a credit report with payments you're already making that aren't being reported to the credit bureaus on their own. Just remember that Experian credit products only help with your Experian credit report, so they will do nothing to build your credit history with Equifax or TransUnion.
How to Tailor Credit-building Strategies to Fit Different Circumstances
The moves you'll want to make to fix bad credit or no credit really depend on which part of the journey you're on. For example, you'll want to do things differently if you have no credit history at all than if you're trying to rebuild credit after bankruptcy or fix bad credit due to mistakes you made in the past.
If you have no credit history at all, for example, this could be due to a range of circumstances. You could be:
- A young adult first starting out who just needs help getting started
- An immigrant or international student who is new to this country
If you have bad credit, you could be:
- Someone who is rebuilding credit after a financial setback, such as bankruptcy or foreclosure
- Someone who made late payments in the past, or has older accounts in default
In any of these scenarios, you'll want to consider which of the credit-building moves we suggest could actually work for you. If you have bad credit or no credit at all, for example, you may not be quite ready to get approved for a store credit card or an interest-free offer. However, pretty much everyone (regardless of credit history) can use a secured credit card or a credit-builder loan, or start having their rent and utility payments reported to the credit bureaus to help boost their score.
What Does It Mean to Have an Established Credit History?
Having credit history on your credit reports happens when you have had some type of credit in the past and you have had balances and payments reported to the credit bureaus. If you just turned 18 and you have never had a loan or a credit card in your name, for example, it's possible to have no credit history at all.
- No credit = no credit score. When you have no credit history, you don't have a low credit score. No credit history actually means you have no credit score at all.
- You have to get started somehow. Having no credit is the reason people use apps like Experian Boost or secured credit cards to get started.
- Get help boosting your score. The financial tools and steps on this list can help you get reporting added to your credit reports, which can lead to a starter credit score you can build on over time.
Why Is It Important to Establish Credit?
Establishing credit history may not be important at this exact moment, but it will be eventually. Consider the reasons you'll eventually want to have good credit:
- You want to own a home or rent an apartment. Having good credit can make it possible to qualify for a mortgage, and maybe even a home loan with the best rates and terms. Good credit also means you can rent a place without a co-signer.
- Buying a car is one of your priorities. You'll want good credit before you apply for an auto loan. Otherwise, you'll pay high interest rates and more fees.
- You want to save money on car insurance. Having good credit means insurance companies see you as a lower risk, and this translates to lower auto insurance rates.
- You want options. Having good credit makes it easier to live life on your own terms, whether you want to move, go on vacation, or take out a personal loan for excellent credit and spend it how you want.
How Quickly Can I Establish Credit?
Because the credit bureaus update credit scores once per month, your score could appear or improve within 30 days of the date your financial company reported payments to the credit bureaus. However, you may have to wait up to six months to see a credit score appear with some credit scoring models, including certain types of FICO scores.
5 Tips to Build Your Credit Once You’ve Established a Credit History
These tips can help you continue building credit once you have a credit score:
- Keep your credit balances low. Most experts suggest keeping your balances below 30% of your available credit for the best credit score results, which means never owing more than more than $450 for every $1,500 in available credit you have.
- Make on-time payments each month. Never pay your bill late or you'll live to regret it. If you're afraid you'll forget, set up bills for autopay when you can.
- Avoid getting too many cards at once. Having too many cards shows card issuers that you could be a greater risk, so your credit score could suffer.
- Monitor your credit history and score. Watch your credit score and monitor your credit reports for free at AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Keep old accounts open. Having older accounts on your profile can help your credit in the long run, so don't cancel them for no reason.
Understand the Basics of Credit
When you look at the factors that impact credit scores, it's easy to see why you'll need to pay your bills on time, avoid opening a lot of new accounts, and keep your debt levels in check.
Here are the factors that influence FICO credit scores:
- Payment history: 35%
- Amounts owed: 30%
- Length of credit history: 15%
- New Credit: 10%
- Credit Mix: 10%
Here are the factors that influence VantageScore 4.0 credit scores:
- Payment history: 41%
- Depth of credit: 20%
- Credit utilization: 20%
- Recent credit: 11%
- Balances: 6%
- Available credit: 2%
These factors are all considered by the credit bureaus when determining different scores, which means they each play a role in the score you end up with and how it changes over time.
Now that you know how to establish credit with no credit history or limited credit, you have some decisions to make. You can decide to make a few different moves we have outlined in this guide, even all at once. However, you absolutely must decide to use credit responsibly by keeping balances low and making payments on time.
Your future with credit depends on the steps you take right now, so choose wisely and always treat your credit with care.