There are plenty of articles out there about the fastest ways to raise a credit score, but the focus of this article and infographic is a bit different. Rather than giving you shortcuts on how to boost your credit score, we’re talking about the fastest ways to build credit for long-term success.
While raising a credit score can be accomplished in various ways, not all of them involve actually building your credit profile by adding more accounts. Credit repair companies may offer tactics on how to raise credit scores by removing negative, inaccurate information from your credit file, but this strategy doesn’t do anything to build your credit history by establishing new accounts. They may remove harmful inaccurate information, but they often lack in assisting with credit re-establishment.
Opening a mix of several different accounts and keeping them in good standing is crucial for building a good credit record, but this process takes time. It is well-known that a credit account needs at least two years of history to be considered “seasoned,” which is when it has enough age to show that you can properly handle the account and therefore begins to improve your credit score.
Before this point, when an account is still young, it represents a risk to the lender because they don’t know if you will use the credit responsibly. They don’t know if you are going to max out your cards, miss payments, etc. That’s why new accounts often hurt your credit temporarily.
So what can you do if you don’t have 2+ years to open new accounts and wait for them to age? What if you can’t get approved for credit on your own to begin with? How do you build good credit fast?
The answer to how to build credit fast is piggybacking. This term refers to the practice of building credit by becoming associated with someone else’s credit accounts.
This might sound surprising, but studies have shown it is a very common practice. A study of over 1 million consumers by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau showed that nearly a quarter of consumers transitioned out of credit invisibility by piggybacking on the creditworthiness of others. According to a survey by creditcards.com, 86 million Americans have shared a credit card account with someone else!
Additionally, a study by the Federal Reserve Board found that about 30% of consumers with a scorable credit record have at least one authorized user account on their credit record.
There are three main ways that piggybacking occurs: getting credit with a co-signer, being a joint credit account holder, or becoming an authorized user.
One very common strategy for someone who needs help building credit fast is to apply for credit with a cosigner or guarantor, which is a person who can be responsible for the debt in the event that the primary borrower cannot repay it. The cosigner or guarantor does not typically receive access to the funds or make payments on the debt unless the primary borrower is no longer able to.
As joint account holders, two parties apply for one account that they can both use. Both parties have full access to the account and both are held fully responsible for the account. Joint accounts are most commonly used by spouses with shared finances.
You’re probably already familiar with the concept of piggybacking credit as an authorized user. The classic example is parents who add their children as authorized users of their credit cards for the purpose of helping them build a credit history. Often, the young adult does not even get a credit card, so they can’t make charges to the account—the goal is solely to have the account show up on their credit report.
While there are many ways to increase your credit score quickly, not all of them are conducive to building credit, which means strengthening your credit profile with additional accounts.
Credit repair techniques may promise to boost credit scores fast, but removing information from your credit report doesn’t help you build credit. To truly build or rebuild credit, you need to add positive credit history to your credit report.
Building credit for long-term success involves establishing a mix of different credit accounts, including credit cards and loans. These foundational accounts, with time, will aid in boosting your credit score to its highest potential. But if you need to build credit fast, you’ll have to take a different approach. Primary accounts need time to age before they start to increase your credit score. And if you are starting with bad credit or no credit at all, it can be hard to get approved for credit accounts on your own.
The only shortcut we have seen to building credit fast is piggybacking credit. Through credit piggybacking, you can benefit from someone else’s good credit, whether that is by getting a cosigner to sign on with you, opening a joint account with someone, or becoming an authorized user on an existing account.
While the first two options are still restricted by the limiting factor of time, being added as an authorized user to a seasoned account can add years of positive credit history to your credit report almost instantly.
Therefore, if you need to build credit fast, consider adding one or more authorized user accounts to the mix, whether by asking a trusted family member or friend or purchasing them online from a reputable business.
Have you tried any of these ways to build credit fast? Share your experience with us in the comments!