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Mythbusting: Building your credit with debit

One thing that's prevalent through the minds of plenty, especially in the youth, is that prepaid debit and checking account debit cards are ways to build credit. Well I'm here to tell you to consider that myth busted.

They might look, feel and act like credit cards, but they are fundamentally different. The concept of credit is that you are borrowing money from a lender, just like a loan, and when you pay that debt back it establishes you as a responsible credit user. With debit and prepaid cards, you aren't borrowing anything. You aren't at risk to default because you've already loaded money on your prepaid card, or you're just drawing it directly from your checking account. Some prepaid card issuers might advertise that they help you build your credit, but unless they are reporting to the three major credit bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax or Experian), they aren't building anything.

So if you're having a hard time developing your credit history, instead of these prepaid options, explore the secured credit card market. These function very similarly to prepaid cards in that you put a deposit down and that collateral acts as your prepayment, then you use it just like you would a normal credit card, paying off your balance every month. 

Most of the time these cards report to the three credit bureaus, but make sure you read the fine print to confirm that they will indeed help you build your credit.

on Wed, 2013-09-25 12:44