How do I get a checking account and How to build/establish credit?

How would I get a checking account? I understand people need them to establish credit or sell stuff on e-bay (I just found this out when I wanted to sell textbooks on How much money do I need to start a checking account? I heard you need a checking account when you buy a car? Why is that? Isn’t a credit card with a history good enough? I recently got a credit card a few months ago and made one purchase on it. I’m trying to establish a credit history, but I’m unsure how to build a credit score. Would having a checking account hurt or help me?

A checking account neither help or hurts you. Unless you go around writting hot checks that never get paid for.

If I were you, I’d get a gas card too. Make your payments on time and that’s all you need to do.

When I was building my credit as a youngster, I went and got myself a Kay’s Jewlers card. I bought myself a necklace and a wrist band. It was kind of frivolous, I’ll admit, but it did help my credit rating after paying it all off on time.

As far as the checking account goes? It all depends on the bank I guess. I’m thinking a 20 spot ought to get you started.

The dealerships don’t require you to have a checking account, as far as I know. I think they prefer that you have one so they can directly withdraw your car payments when it comes that time of the month.

Actually, if your trying to get on a first time buyers program then you may indeed have to get a checking account; now that I think about it.

Any bank will give you a checking account. It’s not a matter of credit – you put money in the account to back up your checks.

Banks have different minimums. In theory, it can be any amount, but many charge fees if you fall below a certain number; they’ll eat up your money. Ask around and look for one that doesn’t charge fees.

As far as establishing credit is concerned, it’s usually easiest to get a store credit card (though many stores are moving to MasterCard/Visa). Get the card, but something you need, then pay it off. Do this for a few months and you can try to apply for a MasterCard/Visa.

There are also some credit/debit cards that can be used as both. If you set up a checking account, you get one. Make small purchases on them and pay them off as soon as the bills come in. After a few months, you will probably start getting offers for credit cards.

When I was in college several years ago, student checking accounts were free but required a $50 deposit. (That money is immediately available to you - its not a fee, it’s your money, there’s just a minimum.) You definately want to shop around for free checking though. IMHO everybody ought to have a checking account, even if you don’t write many checks - most of my bills are paid through automatic drafting of my checking account, for example. Plus you’re building a relationship with a bank.

Your store credit idea is not a bad idea at all.
I’ll bet that your having a debit card at your bank will, however, have nothing to do with your getting approved for a credit card. It may help you get offers from your bank, but if you’d had the same credit experience with the store credit BEFORE you applied for the same bank’s credit card, you’d have the same shot.
Credit cards nowadays are 90% based on credit score, and 10% based on being qualified for the product based on meeting minimum income and debt to income cutoffs for the product.

When I was twenty, in 1969, I asked my dad the same question. Dad owned the local credit bureau. He told me to go the bank’s loan dept. and borrow $500 for 90 days. Tell 'em you don’t really need the money, you just want to establish a credit record. If they’re wary, he said, offer to keep the money in an account in the same bank.

That’s exactly what I did, and when I applied for a car loan a few months later, everything was cool.

Stay away from “payday loan” companies, and never buy a car from a “buy-here-pay-here” dealer unless nobody else will lend you money. Those are ripoff shops, and they prey on the poor and uninformed.

I don’t know about now. But when I was in college there were checking accounts that could be had by students with no fees at banks near the school. There were also many many many credit card offers for students that were basically pre approved. They had no fees and initially a low limit.

How are you paying off your credit card without a checking account? Just curious.

I’m not the person you asked, so if my answer is unsolicited I apologize.
I can walk into my local grocery store and get a money order for several hundred dollars cut by presenting the balance of the money order and a 59 cent service fee. I don’t even have to present ID in most cases if the sum is under $1000.
I could get one for 49 cents at a check cashing place, but I despise predatory lenders, so I’ll never darken such a place’s doorstep.

Maybe this is a down the road suggestion, but if you have an apartment, pay your utility and phone bills. Using that history can help you establish credit. A credit card company (be careful, Grasshopper) will often extend you credit if you can establish a creditable payment history with a utility or a phone company.

A few points:

A checking account doesn’t affect your credit at all, unless you keep a negative balance. It also shouldn’t cost you a penny, if you are going through a credit union. There may be a minimum balance required (mine requires me to have a savings account with $250 to keep everything free), but it’s silly to pay banks fees when you don’t have to.

Having a checking account that a creditor can directly withdraw from for a car payment or loan payment can sometimes even reduce your interest rate by 0.25% or so.

Things to build credit:

Get one or two credit cards now (a gas card or store card and a general visa from your credit union may be a good idea). Always pay the balance in full each month, and never allow the balance to rise over 50% of your total credit limit on any card.

Get two credit cards next year (I have an Amazon card that gives me Amazon gift certificates when I make enough “points”). Everything I’ve read says that having 4-6 credit cards gives you the best score. I’d have you wait a while to get the second 2, because too many applications in a 12-month period make you look desperate and lower your score.

Pay your credit cards a few days before they are due.

Smeghead: I’m using my mother’s checks to pay off my credit card. I ask her for a check and then I give her cash.

A warning to you:
There are some lenders known as sub-prime lenders.
One of them has an ad at the bottom of this page:
“Orchard Bank MasterCard®
Rebuild Credit with Our MasterCard. Apply Online Now—Instant Decisions!”

These people will occasionally issue credit cards with AMAZINGLY LOW limits to people with poor credit. These cards will frequently have more fees than an overlimit checking account… in one recording instance, they issued a card with a $200 limit and then applied $159 in service fees to the card. You wind up with a card with a $200 limit and $41 of available credit. These cards also have onerous annual fees.
You’d be better off waiting until you can qualify for a card that is NOT marketed to people who have shown an inability to handle credit.