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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ignore building a credit history?

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By Clark Howard


Young people are turning their backs on credit cards. That's great on one hand, but it also presents some real challenges going forward.

"Thirty-nine percent of undergraduate students between the ages of 18 and 24 owned a credit card in 2012, down from 49 percent in 2010," according to a Bloomberg report.

Establishing credit is so important no matter your age. Not having credit harms your ability to qualify for a mortgage on a home, or even get a small business loan through peer-to-peer lenders like Prosper.com and LendingClub.com!

It can also impact your insurance rates, and big employers pull your credit report practically by rote too. If it comes back as what's called thin file or no file, you may not get that job offer you'd been hoping for.

So if you have an opportunity to get a credit card, I suggest you take it. Put yourself on credit probation. Use it just to massage your credit history, not as a form of payment you rely on. If you don't trust yourself, just use it twice a year and pay it off immediately to establish a real credit record.

Finally, if you're struggling to establish credit, try a secured credit card.

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