Dear Liz: You recently answered a question about a young man who was turned down for a car loan because he graduated from college debt free and had no credit history. This is the same scenario my daughter encountered this past year.
Despite having a solid job for three years at a good salary, plenty of money in the bank (more than $10,000) and no expenses to speak of, she was turned down repeatedly for credit cards because of “no credit history.” She had been an “authorized user” of our cards for several years. (We have excellent credit scores.) She was told that she needed to be a responsible party on the cards for them to be counted in her application.
I would tell parents to have their child obtain a credit card through the bank or credit union that has her college checking account. That’s what we did with our youngest, who is just completing college and now has a credit history.
Answer: You bring up an excellent point. Although authorized user information can enhance someone’s credit scores, lenders usually have additional criteria they want applicants to meet, such as minimum income levels, job stability and a certain “thickness” to their credit files (which might include other types of credit accounts besides authorized-user accounts).
New credit regulations make it somewhat more difficult than it used to be to qualify for a credit card while in college, but it still can be easier to get a card while in school than afterward.