At a certain point in your life you will almost certainly need to have a line of credit so that you can qualify for loans or a mortgage.

It is going to be very hard to get any of these things without having a good credit rating. A good credit rating is just a matter of not having any debts; it means you must have already have done something to establish some credit. One way to do this is by using a credit card.

However, before applying for a credit card there are a couple things you should do:

  • Research - look around before applying for a certain card. Chances are your options will be somewhat limited when you do not already have some credit established, and you may even need a co-signer. However, do not just resign yourself to a card with a high interest rate, try to find a deal.
  • Budget - remember that a credit card company granting you a card does not mean they have confidence that you will always pay them back right on time, in fact they are hoping that you, like many Americans, will end up in debt and always having to pay those interest rates.

What Else Can I Do to Establish a Line of Credit?

If you have already established some credit, or at least have a potential cosigner, here are some other things you can do to boost your credit rating:

  • If you are renting an apartment or paying utilities, make sure your name is on the apartment lease and utility bills. You are already paying the costs, you might as well get credit (literally) for it.
  • Getting a car loan and making on-time payments can also help you boost your credit.
  • If your bank has given a relatively minor credit card, after making timely payments for about half a year try to ask for a major credit card.

Who Should I Consult if I End Up Falling into Dangerous Amounts of Debt?

In that case you may want to consult a finance attorney who has experience dealing with consumer credit issues. Your attorney can advise as to what protections you have under state and federal law and help you decide what the best course of action is.