Financial Planning for Generation X & Y Women
 
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Expert Q&A Archive

08/31/2006
I'm buying a home; Should I get a credit card to establish credit?
I'm in my late 40s and I've never owned a credit card. But I'd like to buy a home. Is it important for me to get a credit card - at least one - and purchase something on it to prove some credit?
Gail V. Marquet:
expert info »
Having a credit card is not necessary to establish credit. The assumption is you have been paying monthly for a phone, utilities, perhaps a car payment. All types of monthly payments establish credit for you.
Barbara Babcock:
expert info »
In order to buy a house, a lender will want to see that you have a strong credit history. Credit cards are one form of credit, but they are not the only type of credit. If you’ve ever financed a car, or taken out a student loan, or received a personal loan from your bank, then you have used credit. If you currently have an apartment lease or utility service in your name, then you have had service credit in your name. Start by requesting your free credit report (www.annualcreditrepot.com). If you are able to pull your credit report, then do so and verify the account information on it. If you have no open accounts, or no accounts that have been updated with the credit bureaus in the last 6 months, you may not even have a credit report. In this case, you’ll want to establish at least one account. Good luck.
Delores Lenzy - Jones, CPA, CIA:
expert info »
It is a good practice to establish some credit history. In addition, payment history of utilities, car loans, department store charges, etc. also establish pay history.