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The discussion surrounding credit cards can sometimes be quite polarizing with many people singing their praises and others their criticisms. Obviously, it completely depends on how they are used; credit cards are great for their convenience and security but can also be misused. It’s much easier to use credit cards irresponsibly than responsibly and often the same qualities that make credit cards so great allow users to fall far into debt. Once a significant amount of credit card debt is established, it can be almost impossible to reverse the damages.
How To Build Credit Without A Credit Card?
Credit cards are often used to help rebuild credit scores but if you feel like this is in fact not the best option for you we’ve compiled a list of 6 other options to help you rebuild your credit without the help of a credit card.
Use A Personal Loan
Credit cards aren’t the only kind of loan that shows up on your credit history; in fact, it’s in your best interest to have several different kinds of loans appear on your credit report. Balance and variety are extremely important when it comes to rebuilding your credit. A personal loan is a good option when trying to get rid of credit card debt and build credit because it can be used to consolidate your credit card debt, making it easier to manage and pay. You’ll also have more affordable monthly payments as personal loans usually have longer terms and lower interest rates than credit cards. Moreover, if you’re having a hard time qualifying for an unsecured personal loan, you can opt to secure it with some form of collateral.
Adding Other Forms Of Credit
Responsibly handled mortgages, lines of credit or car loans can also help add variety and build your payment history. Just remember that going into debt when you know you won’t be able to make the payments on time and in full will hurt your credit. So only use this option when you know you can financially handle it.
Getting a Co-Signer
Newcomers and students who haven’t yet gotten a chance to build their credit should consider getting a co-signer. A co-signer is someone who will take responsibility for the loan if you fail to make your payments. If you need help qualifying for a loan, a co-signer is a good option. However, be sure you can financially handle the loan before asking someone to co-sign, as missed payments will affect your co-signers credit as well.
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Have Your Rent Payments Reported
People who have a mortgage benefit from having it appear on their credit reports. Mortgages are a different kind of loan that adds variety to the credit mix; one of the five main factors that affect your credit score. Moreover, each mortgage payment adds to a person’s payment history, which is one of the most significant factors that affect credit.
Similarly, if you have your rent payments reported, it will add to your payment history and credit mix. As such, if you rent a house or an apartment then you definitely want to look into having your rent payments reported to the credit bureaus. While options to have your rent payments reported are limited, you can do so through The Landlord Credit Bureau (LCB); a rent payment reporting agency that recently came about in Canada. Both you and your landlord must be a member of the LCB to have your rent payments reported to Equifax. Once your rent payments start being reported to the credit bureau make sure you always pay on time and in full.
Find out if you can pay your rent with your credit card.
Secured Credit Card
If you’re having trouble qualifying for credit in general, a secured credit card is a good way to get your foot in the door. They are easy to qualify for, all you really need is enough cash to make a security deposit which will also act as your credit limit. These funds increase your approval odds as they become collateral for the lender in the event you are unable to make your payments.
Due to their flexible requirements, these make great resources for those with bad credit. Each payment you make will be reported to the credit bureaus, which will help build your payment history and improve your credit score.
Best Secured Credit Cards To Build Credit
|Annual Fee||Interest Rates||Min. Deposit|
|Refresh Financial Secured Visa||$12.95||17.99%||$200|
|Plastk Secured Visa Credit Card||$48 (+$6 monthly fee)||17.99%||$300|
|Home Trust Secured Visa Card||0$ or $59||- 19.99% (no annual fee)|
- 14.9% (with annual fee)
|Vancity enviro Secured Visa Card||$0 - $395||- 11.25%|
- 19.50 %
|TD Secured Credit Card||$29||19.9%||$500|
|Capital One Guaranteed Secured Mastercard||$59||19.8%||$75|
Credit Builder Loans
Credit builder loans or a savings loan is a product to help individuals improve their credit and save money. When you apply for a credit builder loan, you’ll be given a loan that is held in a secured trust account. To access the funds, you’ll need to make payments until the loan is paid off. While you make payments, each one will be reported to the credit bureaus, thereby improving your payment history. Once you’ve “paid off” the loan, you’ll be able to release the funds and use them to make a purchase, pay off debt or put it towards your savings.
This product is best for those who are unable to qualify for regular credit products due to bad credit. If you’ve gone through a consumer proposal or bankruptcy, a credit builder loan is a good option as there usually aren’t any credit checks. Moreover, if you’re new to Canada and don’t have a credit score yet, this is a good way to start building your credit.
Are you new to Canada? Check out how to establish credit as a newcomer.
Double Check Your Credit Report
It’s important that you monitor your credit report and make sure that there are no errors on it. Your credit score is directly calculated from the information in your credit report so any errors could potentially have a negative impact on your credit score. Make a habit of checking your credit report once a year. That way you’ll be able to catch any errors and dispute them before they affect your score too much.
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Work on Becoming Debt Free
If you’re truly committed to improving your credit then one of the most effective things you can do is become debt-free. Paying off your debts will significantly improve your credit. There’s no trick behind this option, it’s as simple as paying off your credit cards and other debts that might be hurting your credit. This is especially important if the ratio between your debt and available credit is extremely high, meaning if your credit card is maxed out. Pay off your debts and you should see improvement in your credit in no time.
Don’t Close Old Credit Accounts
Some people believe that closing one or more of their credit accounts will help their credit because they won’t be racking up as much debt anymore. This isn’t a good idea because the age of credit accounts is taken into account when your credit score is calculated. You should keep old accounts open even if you’re not going to use them. The ratio between your available credit and used credit will be very low which will also help your overall credit health. Just make sure that your credit issuer doesn’t close down the account because it’s inactive.
Make sure you watch out for fraud and monitor the accounts even though you aren’t technically using them and if they have any fees associated with them it might be worth keeping them inactive.
What’s the difference between a credit card and a secured credit card?
Should I use a credit card or a personal loan for a big purchase?
How long will it take to improve my credit score?
Credit cards can be a great way to help rebuild your credit but they aren’t your only option. If you feel that using your credit card to build your credit score is too much of a risk or you’re looking for a different option then you should consider one of the above alternatives. They’ll be just as effective and you’ll have peace of mind that you won’t rack up too much credit card debt.
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