Millennials: Here are 2 ways you can obtain credit

If you're between the ages of 18 or 35 and can't get a loan for the life of you, you're not alone. A study from ID analytics found creditors and lenders deny 66 percent of millennials credit services at least once every year

You're in a Catch-22 situation. You need a credit card or a loan to build credit, but there's not enough information in your credit report for lenders to assess your ability to pay back loans. Are there any easy ways you can obtain credit? 

1. Take out a credit-builder loan 
If you happen to be a member of a credit union or have a checking account at a community bank, ask a customer service representative about obtaining a credit-builder loan. According to NerdWallet, financial institutions typically provide these products to people who are trying to build up credit, but either don't have a report or are dealing with a bad score.  

At first glance, these loans look pretty strange. Here's how they work:

  • You go to your bank and ask to take out a credit-builder loan for a modest sum (usually between $500 and $3,000). 
  • Once you're approved, the lender opens up a savings account with the amount you requested. 
  • You pay monthly installments (how much depends on your bank) on the loan, and can access the proceeds once you've paid it back.

Think of it as a way to save up money. If you take out a $2,000 credit-builder loan, and pay $100 every month as per the agreement, in 20 months, you'll be able to access that $2,000. It's not for everybody, but it can help you build up a credit report.

2. Look at credit cards for first timers 
Keep in mind that credit card companies also offer products for those with little credit history. Most of them have rewards structures designed specifically for young adults. Keep in mind that some of them have annual percentage rates (i.e. the interest you'll pay on the balance you owe). Why? Because the credit card company's taking a chance with you - they don't know if you're financially responsible or not.

With that in mind, try the best you can to not carry a balance. If you're not familiar with the terminology, the balance is the amount you owe on the credit card. So, if you purchase a $200 TV with your credit card, your balance will be $200. If your APR is 25 percent, then you'll owe the credit card company $250, assuming you carried the balance for exactly one year.

Which credit cards accommodate first-timers? Value Penguin listed a few credit cards that may suit you:

  • Discover it for Students
  • Savings Secured Visa Platinum Card
  • Barclaycard Rewards MasterCard

Each of these these cards offers different rewards options and interest rates. 

Also, keep in mind that you can obtain an alternative credit score for free. These reports take your utility, rent and telecom bill payment habits into account, showing lenders whether you're financially responsible. They're really convenient and many businesses accept them when extending forms of credit. 

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