Ask Money

A dream and a credit score

Chris Farrell Jan 6, 2012

Question: I love your show. I feel REALLY lucky when I have to drive around the time your show airs! 

So, I’m curious about safe ways to establish credit. I have ambitions to run my own cafe and coffee roastery one day. Having a good credit history is going to be key. But, I hate the idea of spending money that I don’t have and keeping track of interest rates. Are there any cards or plans I should look into, with this in mind? 

I hope this isn’t super lazy of me to ask you guys instead of looking it up. I just trust you all more than other means to be fair and balanced. Thanks a bunch and keep up the great work. Sincerely, Charlie, Philadelphia, PA 

Answer: Thanks for listening. The easiest way to build up a good credit score is to regularly use a credit card and pay the bill on time. The key to establishing good financial habits is pay the credit card bill off in full at the end of the month–don’t carry a balance. I would use the card but buy something small–filling up the car at the pump, some groceries–so that it’s easy to pay off the tab monthly tab. 

The interest rate is less important to you if you don’t carry a balance. Instead, you’ll want a credit card that doesn’t charge an annual fee. 

How to find a card? How about this as an approach. You say you have an ambition to run your own business. I love it. In that case what I would do is create a banking relationship—checking and savings accounts, credit and debit cards–with a local credit union or community bank. You’ll want to establish a relationship with a local financial institution well-known for working with local entrepreneurs.

A solid banking relationship could prove useful when it’s time to start your business. Of course, this means more work on your part, but it’s an approach that subsumes the search for a credit card into a much bigger goal–owning your own café and coffee roasting business. What do you think? 

If you don’t like that idea you can always search for credit cards and credit card terms at websites like and

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