Reader Dilemma: I Cant Get Approved for a Credit Card! How do I Build Credit?

How Do you Get Approved for Credit Without a Long Credit History?

This question comes from a reader who has been unable to get a credit card approved, despite seemingly doing everything by the textbook. I have not been in the situation of being unable to receive approval for a credit card. Anyone have any advice on this topic? I can only imagine the frustration.


I’ve applied for a credit card through Chase Bank (my personal bank) twice now and been denied each time. My credit score is not bad, just not established. Here’s a little history (followed by my question):

1. I’m 24 years old and I’ve never had a credit card.
2. I’ve always been on time with rent and utilities payments (all utilities been in my name at every residence I’ve had for four years now).
3. I’ve cosigned two car loans with my parents before the age of 20, both of which have since been paid off.
4. I’ve got one small student loan in my name which I just started making payments on (it was in forbearance due to my participation in the AmeriCorps VISTA program immediately after college).

My credit history (apparently) is approximately zilch. I am joining the Peace Corps in nine to twelve months and would like to build some credit before I duck out of the country for two or more years, so it’s important to me that I get approved asap.

Do you have any advice? Do secured credit cards actually help you build your scores?

Credit Card Approval Discussion:

Has anyone been in a similar situation to this? What did you do to build enough credit to get more credit?

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  • How to Improve your Credit Score

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