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It’s important for my 18-year-old daughter to establish credit. She works full time and really wants her own apartment. How can she go about this credit process without me cosigning for anything?


Authorities on credit say the best way to build it is to go for small successes, thereby avoiding big failures. Once your daughter gets her apartment, she should put the utilities in her name and then – here comes the crucial element – pay them on time and in full every month. Setting up the utilities in her name will put her on the radar of credit-reporting agencies, and making payments on time will bump up her credit scores (plural – each agency has its own) and show prospective creditors that she has the financial wherewithal and, perhaps more important, the discipline to be trusted with someone else’s money. That is likely to convert prospective creditors into actual ones, assuming she wants to borrow. If she is given a credit card, it’s important that she keep the outstanding balance to less than 30 percent or so of the amount available to be borrowed and then pay off the balance in full each month – again, on time.
-Conrad de Aenlle