How To Build Credit At 18

Start now for future you 🚀

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When you first become an adult, gaining access to credit can be a challenge due to a lack of credit history, so it can be pretty tough taking out financial products like credit cards and cellphone contracts in your own name.

So, how can you start building your credit?

🎓 First things first…


Having good credit might be something you feel like you shouldn’t have to think about until you’ve finished college and hit your early 20’s but actually, credit starts affecting your life as soon as you become an adult.

If you want to make it as a ✨ truly independent young adult ✨, you’ll need to start relying on your own credit history for all those boring bills for grown-ups like cellphone contracts, lower car insurance rates, and even renting.

Credit takes time to build, but It’s important to establish credit while you’re young so that you can set yourself up for the future.


There are many reasons why your credit score is important, with one of the main reasons being that lenders need to see you’ve had a lot of experiencing managing credit.

The longer your credit history, the more your score will improve, which means you should be offered financial products like mortgages, loans and credit cards with much lower interest rates than those with a lower score and less credit history 📉

Landlords may also consider your credit when reviewing your rental application because they’ll want to see that you are able to keep up with your monthly payments 😴

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Via Giphy

And there are also a few factors car insurance companies take into consideration which can have an impact on what you pay, including your credit history. In fact, 92% of insurers now consider credit when deciding on a quote for your insurance.


So, why’s budgeting important then?

It’s important because without budgeting for your day, week, month or year *sings the Friends theme-tune*, you could end up in a bit of a tricky situation, and we just really don’t want that for you.

If you set a budget, you’re more likely to:

  • Have control over your spending
  • Get yourself on track so you can work towards your financial goals
  • Stop feeling financially overwhelmed
  • Avoid debt
  • Have an emergency fund (by the way, takeaways don’t count as an emergency)
  • Save money

Granted, the word “budget” sounds pretty boring and perhaps the first thing that comes to mind is an ✨ excel spreadsheet ✨ but it really doesn’t have to be that way 💙

And that’s because of Cleo's cool, quirky money app which helps you set a budget that suits💅

After downloading our free budgeting app, all you need to do is enter your bills and monthly income, and Cleo will keep you on track with regular reminders and updates.

… And it only takes 2 minutes 🪄


You’re 18, you might be new to the whole “building credit” world, and that’s why Cleo has built something which is pretty straight forward.

Cleo’s Plus subscription gives you access to financially useful features which in time, should help you build your credit history 💃

A few ways to build your credit include:

  • Creating a budget that suits you
  • Saving
  • Tracking your money
  • Checking your credit score and understanding it

All of which the Plus subscription can help you with 💅

And you’ll also get a couple of extras, because she’s nice like that…

  • Personalized saving goals and round ups
  • Up to a $250* cash advance (if you’re eligible)

The cash advance is interest free and there are no credit checks. And unlike payday loans and overdraft fees, it won’t affect your credit score.

Want to find out more? Check out our is Cleo Plus worth it blog.


In simple terms, an authorized user is an additional cardholder on someone else’s credit card. But unlike the cardholder, the authorized user has no liability to pay back any of the credit card – this is the responsibility of the primary cardholder. Thanks mom and dad (lol, joke).

If used properly, it could work wonders for your credit score.

✅ Pros: if the cardholder makes the payments on time, it’ll have a positive impact on the authorized user’s credit score

❌ Cons: if the cardholder doesn’t make the payments in time, it’ll have a negative impact on the authorized user’s credit score

In fact, a Business Insider success story describes how a 26 year old girl who didn’t even think she had a credit score (due to not having any credit cards or student loans), actually had a score of over 800 as her mom added her as an authorized user on her credit card when she was just 16.

... Perhaps it was a good thing her mom didn’t tell her she was added to the card at the time 🤑🛍️

If a cardholder doesn’t feel comfortable with you using your own card, it doesn’t matter as you’ll still benefit from the account.

So it just goes to show, as an authorized user, you don’t even need to use the card in order to build your credit, just sit back, relax, and let the cardholder do all the hard work for you 🙃


With a traditional credit card, you’re spending money that’s not yours, and if you don’t pay the full amount off in time, you’ll get a load of interest slapped on.

In fact, $3,600 is the average credit card debt of people aged 35 or younger in America 🚩

With Cleo’s Credit Builder Card**, you’re in charge of deciding how much money you want to spend. The money you add to your card’s security deposit then becomes your credit limit (there’s a minimum deposit of $1).

It’s really simple.

If you add $50 to your security deposit, and then spend the $50 that’s it, it’s almost impossible to go over 💸

And with Cleo’s auto repayment option, you don’t have to do a thing. It’s all set up so it’s pretty much impossible to miss a payment.


💙 No interest

💙 No credit checks

💙 The amount you add to your security deposit ( at least $1) becomes your credit limit

💙 The card can help build your credit and improve your score

You’ll just need to sign up for the Builder Subscription first which is $14.99 per month. And once you’ve signed up, you’ll then be able to apply for the Credit Builder card.

Check out the Cleo Credit Builder Card vs. traditional credit cards blog to see how we compare 💅

**The Credit Builder Card is issued by WebBank, Member FDIC pursuant to a license from Visa USA Inc. Access to the Card is subject to approval.


Paying your bills on time and keeping your credit utilization ratio as low as possible are two of the most important things you can do to help you build credit.

In fact, your credit utilization takes up 30% of your credit score.

You’re not going to see sudden changes overnight but by adopting good credit habits now, could help you save thousands during your lifetime and open up a whole world of opportunities for you 🌈

P.S. If you’re looking for easy side hustles whilst you’re at college, check out
ways you can make some extra cash.

Enjoy this post? Def give it a share or send it along to a friend. You never know, it could make a big difference. And of course, if you want to try the best money app in the world for free, just hit this link right here.

Big love. Cleo 💙

*The Cleo Plus subscription offers saving goals, hacks, challenges, APY on savings, credit score insights, and access to cash advances if eligible.

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