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How to Get Credit

Credit is a financial tool that's hard to live without in modern society, yet difficult to obtain after experiencing a bankruptcy, or for those with bad or no credit history. Learn how to get credit and afford what you want.


  • Step 1: Identify the type of credit needed Identify the type of credit you need based on how you plan to use it. Options include a credit card, a line of credit, or a secured or unsecured installment loan.
  • Step 2: Know the sources Know the sources for different types of credit. Commercial banks, credit unions, consumer finance companies, or even pawnbrokers, offer credit opportunities. Match the source to your need.
  • TIP: Credit unions loan to members and tend to offer interest rates lower than at banks.
  • Step 3: Obtain your free credit report Obtain your free credit report from one of the three major reporting companies, and learn your credit score to assess your credit worthiness.
  • Step 4: Improve your credit score Improve your credit score by paying bills on time, maintaining a checking and savings account, paying off debt, or piggybacking on a spouse's good credit.
  • TIP: First-timers are able to begin a credit history when they open a checking and savings account.
  • Step 5: Prove you are a good risk Prove you are a good risk by showing stability as an employee, home owner, or renter, and the ability to comply with a creditor's standards.
  • Step 6: Apply for credit Apply for credit at the appropriate institution. If successful in getting a credit card or loan, protect it, and use the privilege wisely to better your financial plan.
  • FACT: The Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination against applicants on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, or age.

You Will Need

  • Credit type desired
  • Credit sources
  • Your credit report
  • Your credit score
  • Credit worthiness

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