1 |  Check your credit report – Credit reports are used to create your credit scores, a three-digit number that lenders typically use to gauge your creditworthiness.

2 |  Establish checking and savings accounts – Lenders see bank accounts as signs of stability.

3 |  Understand the basics of credit scoring – The important factors: Whether you pay your bills on time. How much of your available credit you actually use. Set up automatic payments so that you’re never, ever late!

4 |  Find a cosigner – “Borrow” another’s record.

5 |  Get and installment loan – to get the best credit scores, including revolving accounts (credit cards, lines of credit) and installment accounts (auto loans, personal loans, mortgages).

6 |  Apply for a secured credit card – Convert to a regular, unsecured credit card after 12 to 18 months of on-time payments.

7 |  Get a store card – One or two store cards is enough. These cards don’t do as much for your credit scores as bank card (Visa, MasterCard, etc.), but they’re usually easier to get.