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Simple Ways to Build Up a Credit History
by Jane J. Kim

Wall St. Journal 8-15-04

 

If you've ever been denied a loan because you don't have a credit history, here's a new way to qualify - pay your rent on time.

 

Some consumers, mainly young people, recent immigrants and low-income individuals - should now have an easier time obtaining lower interest credit cards and loans, thanks to a new scoring process developed by Fair Isaac Corp.

 

For years, the major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and Trans-Union, excluded information from noncredit sources because that data was typically hard to collect and maintain. As a result, as many as 55 million people lacked enough information to quality for a standard credit score, Fair Isaac says.

 

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But now some firms have begun providing other credit scoring options to lenders. Fair Isaac's system generates a credit score based on how well consumers handled their bank accounts or payments on retail purchase plans,. Consumers can also build a credit history by having their rent and other bill-payment activity tracked on PayRentBuildCredit.com, an Annapolis, MD credit bureau. Meanwhile, Lexis Nexis uses public records from its database - such as telephone and address listings, property-ownership records and bankruptcy filings - to do developed a risk assessment score.

 

To be sure, it still pays to build your credit the old-fashioned way because you'll likely get a much lower interest rate. A good way to start is to sign up for a secured card, requiring you to open a savings account and deposit an amount that's equal to your credit line. As long as you pay off charges on time, you'll build up your credit and qualify for an unsecured card - after about six months.

 

Another way to kick start your credit history is to ask a family member or close friend to add you as an account holder on their account, says David Chung, president of CreditXpert, a Towson, MD maker of credit assessment technology tools used by businesses. If you that person has a long and solid credit record, you'll immediately inherit that entire history. Any credit dings., of course, will hurt the credit ratings of both people.

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