Are you a parent with kids in high school or college, or are you a young adult or teen studying in college? If so, you may be wondering when is the best time for one to start building a credit history.

In the U.S., having a credit history is essential, but most people are not even aware of it.

Without a credit history, you won't have any credit score, you can't get regular credit cards, may be turned down for a job, may be rejected for mortgage, auto or business loans, or not being able to rent a place to stay!

John Olson, Financial Consultant at LPL Financial, told GET.com that in these economic times especially, you should build credit as young as you can. He said, "The world runs on credit and so do most people. Used wisely, it can even work to your advantage."

Mike Kelly, a military helicopter pilot and author of Financial Advice for the New High School Graduate said, "As soon as you hit 18, you can get started, and if you have a credit building plan, you can be well on your way to having credit when you need it (Because if you need it and you haven't built it, you won't have it when you want it!). Credit is one of those things that are like good grades in school. If you knew you needed them to get into a great college, you would have earned them when you had the chance."

Start Building Credit While In High School Or College

Howard M. Rosen, a Certified Public Accountant and President of Conner Ash, told GET.com that he thinks that children in high school or college should start establishing credit.

Howard said, "This can be done by having the child borrow $500 on a 90-day note (with a parent co-signing of course) and promptly repaying or by opening a credit card with a small credit ceiling and having the child pay the bills timely."

Greg McFarlane, an advertising copywriter and author of "Control Your Cash: Making Money Make Sense", also recommends that the sooner you build a credit history, the better.

Greg told GET.com that as a college or high school kid, one main way to get some accounts on your credit history is to get a credit card or two. He said, "At the very least, a power bill or a phone bill can get you started. If you have roommates, go contrarian and offer to put the accounts in your name."

Some parents out there may not think that getting a credit card in college is a good idea; they may think their kids are not ready for it, and will overspend their money and possibly get into debt. But that's the thing about money: one has to learn responsibility in order to grow into a responsible adult when it comes to money. You have to put it into practice and let it become a habit.

I think that college is a good time for teens or young adults to get a credit card since it will teach them how to be diligent with their money, how to use a credit card and most importantly, it will also help them build up a credit score, so by the time they finish college, they will have credit history to show for, and be able to replace their student credit cards with better cards such as rewards credit cards.

Mike Kelly added, "GET.com has numerous options to get credit cards. First you have to realize that you need credit. You need good credit to rent a house, buy a car, get a credit card and sometimes even to get a job!"

The Sooner You Start, The Better Off You Are

Bradley Smith, Branch Manager of Rescue One Financial, told GET.com that the best time to start building a credit history is as soon as possible.

"I have personally reviewed over 10,000 credit reports and the individuals with the highest credit scores typically have the longest credit history," Bradley said.

Step To Take

If you have kids who are below 21 years old, apply student credit cards for them and be their co-signer. Let them practice with paying small monthly expenses with it such as phone bills or utility bills, this way, their credit score will rise steadily over time, so by the time they finish college, they will be able to enjoy all the benefits of having a good credit history and be ready to take on the world.

GET.com has a large selection of student credit cards with daily updated offers directly from banks in the U.S. Before you apply, make sure to choose the student card that suits the needs of your child the most.

Best Credit Cards for Building Credit

Credit CardFeaturesIntro APRRegular APRAnnual FeeWhy we like itWe least likeCredit RequiredRelated links
Capital One<sup>®</sup> Secured Mastercard<sup>®</sup>

Capital One® Secured Mastercard®

  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use
  • Unlike a prepaid card, it builds credit when used responsibly, with regular reporting to the 3 major credit bureaus
  • You will get an initial $200 credit line after making a security deposit of $49, $99, or $200
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time with no additional deposit needed
  • Easily manage your account 24/7 with online access, by phone or using our mobile app
  • It's a credit card accepted at millions of locations worldwide

N/A

26.99% (Variable)

$0

Why we like it
  • No annual fee, and all the credit building benefits with responsible card use.
Limited, Bad
Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card

Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card

APPLY NOWAt Citi's secure website
  • Earn 2,500 bonus points after you spend $500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for a $25 gift card at thankyou.com
  • The Citi Rewards+℠ Student Card - the only credit card that automatically rounds up to the nearest 10 points on every purchase - with no cap
  • Earn 2,500 bonus points after you spend $500 in purchases with your card within 3 months of account opening; redeemable for a $25 gift card at thankyou.com
  • 0% Intro APR on purchases for 7 months. After that, the variable APR will be 15.99% - 25.99%, based on your creditworthiness.
  • Earn 2X ThankYou® Points at Supermarkets and Gas Stations for the first $6,000 per year and then 1X Points thereafter. Plus, earn 1X Points on All Other Purchases.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 15.99% - 25.99%, based on your creditworthiness. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion.
  • No annual fee
APPLY NOWAt Citi's secure website

0% Intro APR on purchases for 7 months

15.99% - 25.99% (Variable)

$0

Good
Citi<sup>®</sup> Secured Mastercard<sup>®</sup>

Citi® Secured Mastercard®

APPLY NOWAt Citi's secure website
  • The Citi® Secured Mastercard® is a no annual fee credit card that helps you build your credit when used responsibly.
  • Unlike a debit card, it helps build your credit history with monthly reporting to all 3 major credit bureaus. Once available, you will also have free access to your FICO score online.
  • Use your card anywhere Mastercard® is accepted — worldwide.
  • A security deposit is required. Once approved, your credit limit will be equal to your security deposit (minimum of $200).
  • Get help staying on track with Auto Pay and account alerts.
  • With Flexible Payment Due Dates, you can choose any available due date in the beginning, middle or end of the month.
  • Manage your account 24/7 online, by phone, or in our mobile app.
  • The standard variable APR for Citi Flex Plan is 23.99%. Citi Flex Plan offers are made available at Citi's discretion
APPLY NOWAt Citi's secure website

N/A

23.99% (Variable)

$0

Why we like it
  • Use your card anywhere Mastercard® is accepted — worldwide.
  • Manage your account 24/7 online, by phone, or in our mobile app.
New to Credit
Journey<sup>®</sup> Student Rewards from Capital One<sup>®</sup>

Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®

  • Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month
  • Enjoy no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees
  • Get a head start and build your credit with responsible use
  • Get Eno®, your Capital One® assistant, to manage your account via text, receive alerts, and shop safer online
  • Pick the monthly due date that works best for you
  • Get access to a higher credit line after making your first 5 monthly payments on time
  • $0 fraud liability if your card is ever lost or stolen
  • Monitor your credit profile with the CreditWise® app, free for everyone

N/A

26.99% (Variable)

$0

Why we like it
  • Earn 1% cash back on all your purchases. Pay on time to boost your cash back to a total of 1.25% for that month.
We least like
  • No introductory low APR period.
Average, Fair, Limited
OpenSky<sup>®</sup> Secured Visa<sup>®</sup> Credit Card

OpenSky® Secured Visa® Credit Card

APPLY NOWAt Capital Bank's secure website
  • No credit check necessary to apply. OpenSky believes in giving an opportunity to everyone.
  • The refundable* deposit you provide becomes your credit line limit on your Visa card. Choose it yourself, from as low as $200.
  • Build credit quickly. OpenSky reports to all 3 major credit bureaus.
  • 99% of our customers who started without a credit score earned a credit score record with the credit bureaus in as little as 6 months.
  • We have a Facebook community of people just like you; there is a forum for shared experiences, and insights from others on our Facebook Fan page. (Search "OpenSky Card" in Facebook.)
  • OpenSky provides credit tips and a dedicated credit education page on our website to support you along the way.
  • *View our Cardholder Agreement located at the bottom of the application page for details of the card.
APPLY NOWAt Capital Bank's secure website

N/A

19.14% (variable)

$35

Why we like it
  • No credit check necessary to apply.
  • OpenSky believes in giving an opportunity to everyone.
No credit check

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