Taking the first step into something new is always a challenge. Think back to your first day of college, your first day of a new job, or even your first step onto an airplane. No matter how much you plan, you won’t be able to anticipate everything.
Getting started in points and miles is no different. However, many of our articles rely on you having good credit already established, even if you’re just getting started. But what about for those of you with no real credit? It can be difficult to get approved for a travel rewards card with little to no credit history.
For those of you in this situation, don’t worry. You can quickly build your credit to a point that will let you start earning valuable points and miles. Do you know what the easiest way to build your credit is? With credit cards! Banks are much more likely to approve you for a credit card than almost any other type of loan.
However, travel rewards cards are the hardest to get approved for. This means you’ll have to look at other cards to build your credit before you can target travel rewards credit cards. Let’s take a look at some of the easiest ways to get approved for your first credit card that will become the anchor for your credit report.
P.S. Not even sure what your credit score is? There are a ton of great ways to get your free credit score and report.
Start A Banking Relationship
One of the easiest things you can do is to start a banking relationship with one of the major credit card issuing banks. In fact, this was how I got started!
Open a checking account with Chase, Bank of America, or any of the major national banks is a great way to get started. After a few months you will likely start receiving some pre-approved offers from the bank, sometimes these offers are even for travel rewards cards.
A strong banking relationship can be a great way to help you get your first credit card. While building your credit history, the banks will have a better understanding of your income and spending habits which can help them build confidence in offering credit to you even if you don’t have any credit history.
You can get a quick boost to your credit history to help get approved for your first travel rewards card by credit piggy-backing. Credit piggy-backing works best if your parents or a close trusted friend or a family member have a credit card account that has been open for a long time, and that they do not carry a balance on. If they do, then ask them to add you as an authorized user.
This works because as an authorized user, the bank will report all of this credit information on your credit report. Since the average age of credit and on-time payments account for 50% of your credit score, this will give your credit a significant boost.
Once the information posts on your credit report, you can then apply for your own credit card. Credit piggy-backing can often boost your score enough that you can then apply for a travel rewards credit card of your own and start earning points and miles right away!
Get a Secured Credit Card
If none of these are options, the best way to start building your credit is with a secured credit card. Typically, credit cards are unsecured lines of credit – there are no assets backing up the money you’re borrowing.
A secured credit card requires you to pay a deposit in order to open it. This deposit is refundable, but it gives the bank collateral in case someone defaults on the credit card. Because of this deposit, a secured credit card is much easier to be approved for if you have low or no credit.
If you’re planning on getting started with points and miles, my recommendation is to look towards secured credit cards offered by the major bank. This lets you build your credit history and build a relationship with the card-issuing bank. Both Citi and Capital One offer secured credit cards that will help you build these relationships.
Having little to no credit history doesn’t mean you can’t get started with points and miles, it just means you may have to take a few extra steps before getting started. Starting relationships with the major banks, credit piggy-backing, or getting a secured credit card are great ways to start building the necessary credit history and relationships that will allow you to get thousands of miles in the near future!
Have any questions about credit or about travel rewards credit cards? Check out our facebook group where you can ask questions to Zac, me, and other members of our community who may be having the same questions that you do.