Not having a job or an income can make building a credit history more difficult, but there are ways to get it started. We go over some credit building tips, and typical ways new borrowers can start a credit history – even without a job.

Building a Credit History Without a Job

It’s certainly discouraging to get turned down for a loan because you don’t have a job. How can you build your credit if no one will give you credit? Luckily, there are ways you can get the ball rolling even without a steady job.

  • Spouse’s income – If you’re married/partnered and you’re over 21, you can list their income on your credit applications if your accounts are joint. You’re going to need to prove you have access to your partner’s income when applying for new credit.
  • Open a secure credit card – Through your financial institution, you may be able to get a secured credit card. You deposit your own funds into the account and use it like a credit card. It's essentially a debit card, however, your monthly payments are reported like a credit card. The main difference is that you’re opening your own line of credit with your own funds, unlike a credit card where you’re borrowing the lender’s funds.
  • Become an authorized user – For this option, you need someone else’s permission. An authorized user is someone that shares a credit card with the account holder who’s responsible for making the payments. If you become an authorized user, you may get your own card, while the account holder’s payments are reflected on your credit reports. If the account holder keeps up on the payments, this can help build your credit score.
  • Have your utility payments reported – There are some services that can boost your credit score by having your utility payments, or even your rent payments, reported to the credit bureaus. Since your payment history has the largest impact on your credit score, this can improve your credit score. Our trusted partner can help you boost your credit score for free by reporting your utility payments, while another of our partners will report your rent payments for you.

What’s on Your Credit Reports?

How Can I Build My Credit Score if I Don't Have a Job?Lenders don’t just look at your income when you’re applying for new credit. They also take a look at your overall credit history. It’s important to note that even if you’ve never applied for credit, or had an installment loan before, it doesn’t mean that you have absolutely no credit history.

The credit reporting agencies report more than just revolving credit (like credit cards) and installment loans (like auto loans). Some of your bills, such as rent, could have also been reported – as well as missed or late payments. Additionally, any accounts sent to collection agencies are also likely to have been reported and could be lowering your credit score.

If you want to know what’s on your credit reports, you’re allowed to review them for free, once every week through April of 2021 (once every 12 months after that) from each of the three credit reporting agencies: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Each may have different information and generate different credit scores.

Whenever you’re applying for new credit, you should see what potential lenders are seeing. Plus, reviewing your own credit reports doesn’t lower your score because it’s considered a soft inquiry. You can request your reports from

If you see any errors or accounts you don’t recognize, you can correct them and help repair your credit by filing a dispute. Reviewing your own credit reports and knowing where you stand gives you an advantage when you’re applying for new credit, and can help you see the areas that need improvement.

An Auto Loan Can Help Build Credit

As you can see, there are ways to start building your credit history without a job or steady income. With a little planning, you can start to build or improve your credit over time. And once you have an income, or a spouse with income, you can start to apply for new credit with confidence.

When you need an auto loan but don't have a job, you may be able to become a cosigner on a loan. Without an income, you’re not likely to get approved for a car loan alone, but if you’re married, your spouse could add you to a new auto loan as a co-borrower.

Additionally, car loans are often used to start a credit history. Since they’re installment loans, they affect many different aspects of your credit score. If you have little to no credit, or even bad credit, there are auto lenders that can work with unique credit situations.

The Bottom Line

Here at Auto Credit Express, we’re connected with dealerships nationwide that have subprime lending options. When you’re ready for your next (or first) car loan, look to us to match you to a dealer in your local area with a special finance department. To get connected, simply complete our free auto loan request form.