Q: My wife and I, who are in our early 60s, have always prided ourselves on paying as we go and never using credit. After the column in which you wrote about thin credit, however, we decided that we might build up our credit. When my wife applied for a credit card though, her application was rejected because of “inactive or insufficient recent credit history.” How do people like us with no debt and no recent credit history get a credit card?
A: You may need to start by getting a secured credit card that offers you a line of credit equal to the deposit you make at an issuing bank. Look for a card that doesn’t charge steep upfront fees and that converts to a regular credit card after 12 to 18 months of on-time payments. .