“I am 19, and have never owned a credit card, only debit cards. I have had a 47.50 (or so) debt in the past due to a large overdue fine to a Hollywood Video. I took my sweet time in paying that off and now after one credit card refusal, I expect that it has damaged my otherwise non-existent (to my knowledge) credit score, which (if I understand things right) puts me in a heck of a hole. How do I get out of it? I’m assuming that not building any credit, then going into debt just messed me up and I need to know how to get things right, but if I can’t get a card, how can I get good credit? This is a really unpleasant situation, especially with Christmas coming around.
Any tips you guys have for me would be tons of help, I rely on you guys for all my consumer-related stuff!
Thanks a lot,
Since you’re just guessing about your credit report, you should actually check it: Annualcreditreport.com
Here’s how to get your credit score.
There are ways to build credit without history, which we’ve covered in Your Good Name: Build Credit With Loans & CD’s, HOW TO: Get Your First Credit Card, and How To Improve Your Credit Score With Department Store Credit Cards.
But Brian, hold on a second before you go running off and doing all that. I’m sure that your family will understand that you’re a poor student. It’s not necessary to get a credit card to pay for Christmas, there’s plenty of no-cost/lo-cost ways to give presents. And if you have trouble paying off a $47.50 video store fine, how good do you thing you will be at paying down a credit card racking up interest? Until you increase your cash flow, being denied for a credit card could be a blessing in disguise.
UPDATE: Brain writes:
I guess the one thing I wanted to at least let you know (whether the post is updated to reflect or not) is that I phrased that a bit poorly…when I got that debt, I was unemployed. I am now making about $200 a week after taxes. It’s not much but I figured it’d be enough to pay off small purchases on a card like food, or gas, you know?