When you're just starting out, you have a clean financial slate,
which can be good and bad -- good because you haven't had time to
screw up but bad because lenders can't predict whether you will.
Paying student loans and being an authorized user on a parent's
credit card will help build your credit record, but they likely are
not enough for you to get your own credit card or car loan.
The Kip Tips iPad App
Try applying for a credit card through your bank or credit union
or from a retailer. An American Express card may be within reach
because Amex considers income and assets, among other criteria. The
offers 0% interest for 12 months and no annual fee.
Or apply for a secured credit card. You typically deposit a sum
that becomes your credit limit; after a year of on-time payments,
you can usually qualify for an unsecured card. We like the
, which has a $29 annual fee; a $49 deposit gets you a $200 credit
If a bank turns you down for a car loan, hit the dealer's lot.
Dealers often have looser lending standards (after all, they want
to sell you a car). Nissan and Hyundai, in particular, are known
for being liberal in extending credit.
This article first appeared in
Kiplinger's Personal Finance
magazine. For more help with your personal finances and
subscribe to the magazine
. It might be the best investment you ever make.