Plastic and the GraduateHow to Establish and Maintain Good Credit Records
- Get only one card with a low limit, starting at $300 to $500, and shop around for the lowest interest rate.
- Pay off the entire balance monthly, or at least pay more than the monthly minimum.
- Record every purchase in your checkbook, so you know the money's in your account.
- Don't charge food or entertainment.
- A secured card can reduce risks. You can only charge up to the amount you deposit as security at the issuing bank. Interest rates are as low as 8 percent, or half the rates for unsecured cards.