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Personal Finances

How to Build Credit at 18 Years Old


Trying to build credit at 18 years old can be a formidable task, but not impossible. Understanding what credit is, why it’s essential, and how to start building it from scratch is important. Good credit will open up opportunities for you later in life when applying for loans or mortgages.

This blog post will provide some tips and advice on how to build credit at 18, including getting a credit card, using it responsibly, paying bills on time, and more. With the right information and effort, you can build a strong credit score and reap the rewards of good credit.

What is credit?

Credit is a financial concept determining your ability to borrow and pay money back. It essentially serves as a trust score that lenders use to assess your reliability and determine the terms of a loan. Having good credit shows that you are responsible for your finances and will likely repay borrowed funds.

On the other hand, bad credit can make getting approval for loans or credit cards difficult, and you may receive higher interest rates. Understanding what credit is and how it works is crucial for building a solid financial foundation and achieving long-term financial success.

Why is credit important?

Understanding why credit is important is crucial for young adults starting their financial journey. Having good credit opens up opportunities for loans, mortgages, and credit cards with better terms and lower interest rates. It demonstrates financial responsibility and the ability to manage debt. Good credit also plays a role in renting an apartment, getting a job, and even securing insurance policies.

How to build credit at 18

Get a credit card

One of the first steps to building credit at 18 is to get a credit card. Having a credit card is the first major step to establishing a credit history. Look for credit cards that are designed for beginners or students. They often have lower credit limits and fewer fees.

Remember to use a credit card responsibly and pay off the full monthly balance to avoid accumulating debt.

Pay bills on time

Paying bills on time is crucial for young adults looking to build and maintain good credit. Late payments can have a negative impact on credit scores. This in turn makes it harder to secure loans or credit cards in the future. To stay on top of bills, set up automatic payments or reminders to ensure due dates are never missed.

If consumers are having trouble making payments, they can contact their creditors to see if they offer flexibility or assistance.

Avoid maxing out credit cards

It’s essential to be mindful of credit card usage and avoid maxing out credit cards. Maxing out credit cards can negatively impact credit scores and make it harder to obtain future lines of credit, mortgages, and loans. Instead, aim to keep your credit card balances below 30% of your credit limit. This shows lenders that you are responsible and can manage your debt effectively.

Ask your parents to add you as an authorized user on their credit card

One helpful tip for young adults building credit at 18 years old is to ask their parents to add them as an authorized user on a credit card. This allows the authorized user to benefit from their credit history and establish their own credit.

Young adults looking to do this should communicate with their parents about credit responsibilities and set clear boundaries for using the card. Being added as an authorized user can be a smart way to start building up one’s credit score while also having the guidance and support of their parents.

Pay student loans on time

Paying student loans on time is crucial for building a strong credit history. Set up automatic payments or reminders to ensure a payment is never missed. If one is struggling to make payments, reach out to the loan servicer and explore options for deferment, forbearance, or income-driven repayment plans.

By consistently paying student loans on time, students and young adults can demonstrate financial responsibility and build a positive credit history.


Building credit at 18 may seem overwhelming, but it is completely achievable with the right information and effort. So by understanding what credit is, why it’s important, and how to start building it from scratch, students and young adults can set themselves up for a successful financial future.

Amerant Bank offers a variety of financial products that can help students build credit and establish a financial foundation. Learn more at amerantbank.com and follow Amerant on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn @AmerantBank.

Amerant Editorial Team
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