You may be surprised to learn that millions of Americans do not have a credit score. Without a credit history, it may be difficult to reach your financial goals like buying a house or a car.

So what can you do to start building credit fast? 

When it comes to credit scores, we often have more questions than answers.

“I mean, what is in that credit report? It turns out to be really, really important,” Lisa Gill, Consumer Reports, said.

But what if you don’t have credit?

You’ll need it if you want to get approved for credit cards, car loans, and mortgages. It can determine your insurance rates and even whether you get hired for a job.

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“You might assume that everybody has a credit score, right? But that is actually not true,” said Lisa. “And there’s all kinds of reasons why not. But it could be anything from you’ve never really qualified for a loan or never trying to apply for a credit card. You don’t have a bank account.”

So how do you build credit fast?

One tip is to start with a local credit union. 

“Credit unions make it, I would say, a little easier to open an account,” Lisa addd.

Many offer a credit builder program that does not require you to have a credit score ahead of time. 

“You take out, I would call it, a microloan, but it could just be a several hundred dollar loan and you will pay it back slowly over time.”

Another tip — ask a family member to add you as an authorized user on a credit card. 

“What happens is, as your family member is using the credit card and paying it off every month, that information also gets reported. Then back to the credit bureau for you.”

But make sure you trust this person to pay the monthly bills on time. 

“You’re trying to get yourself a good credit history and then all of a sudden you have late payments because your aunt or your mom or your sister didn’t pay their credit card bill on time.”

Tip number three — apply for a secured credit card.

“Basically you will provide a couple hundred dollars up front and then you’ll use the credit card over time and as you use it and pay it off in full every month, that information also gets transferred to the credit bureaus,” added Lisa.

Achieving a high credit score takes time. You may not see results for a year or longer, but the process is worth it since your credit history can greatly affect whether or not you find financial success.