If you are on currently on the full-ride-mom-and-dad scholarship, stop reading this post right here.
What I am about to say will most likely be a waste of your time because your parents have probably solved this problem for you without you even knowing.
Just keep riding the gravy-train-with-biscuit-wheels right up until it pulls into the station and lets you off to ride even bigger waves in life.
And now for the rest of us "normal folks" who are working at least one job while carrying 15 credits and still find ourselves stuck in the line with other folks who are trying to get a Pell Grant and a Stafford Loan…
Pay special attention because some of you are suffering from "N/A" and may not even know it.
Most people who suffer from "N/A" aren't aware they even have it because no one has told them. Even worse, if you do have "N/A", you may not be sure what to do in order to cure yourself of "N/A" or how long it takes to get cured of it if you actually have it.
Have you heard of "N/A" before and are you aware of what causes it?
"N/A" is a type of credit score that stands for "Not Applicable" and it means that you have something that is almost as bad as having bad credit — no credit!
The easiest way to find out if you have "N/A" is to go to AnnualCreditReport.com and print out your credit report.
Once you have your credit report, you can easily see if you have "N/A" – and if you are one of the unlucky people who has "N/A"?
The good news is that "N/A" is relatively easy to fix! Here are three simple things that you can do to get rid of "N/A" and start building good credit:
Open a checking and a savings account at any of the local banks. This is one of the few things that you can even if you are still under 18. If a bank tells you that you can't open a checking/savings account until you are 18, try a different bank.
Ask your Mom/Dad who has perfect credit to add you as a joint-account-holder on one of their credit cards. Be careful, being a joint-account holder will help you establish credit but will also make you liable for charges, so make sure that you don't end up supporting your parents bad habits if they can't use the card wisely! Up until recently, you could have just been added as an authorized user, but recent changes have made it so that just being an authorized user on your parents card no longer helps build your credit.
Apply for a credit card on your own. You see the credit card offers papered all over campus – fill one out! Credit cards are not bad or good – they are only bad if you use credit unwisely. They are only good if you use them wisely. So it is up to you! Ask the card issuer to start with a small balance ($500) and use it for a few months to buy your usual stuff and pay it off. By actually using the card and paying it off, you will be building your credit. Just remeber not to charge more than you can pay off in a month – carrying a balance on a credit card is a financial trap that is best avoided while you are in college.
Ok, by doing any combination of these three things, you should cure yourself of "N/A" if you had it.
And if you do it right, getting rid of "N/A" can be a lot of fun!