NORFOLK, Va. - It can feel like a Catch-22. You need credit to get credit.
It's a problem for a lot of people.
According to research from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 1 in 10 adults in the U.S. don't have a credit record.
There are ways to build or improve your credit that don't involve getting a credit card, though.
Experian has a free service called Experian Boost which allows people to count payments that are not normally included in credit reports, including rent, utilities and even streaming services like Netflix.
Only payments that will improve your score are included.
"The real benefit is that for young people who have a very limited, what we call a thin credit file, using those kinds of services help show that they should be a good credit risk, even though they don't have a long established credit history. It's a way to show that you are responsible with your finances," said Rod Griffin, Senior Director of Public Education and Advocacy for Experian.
An important note, this service only helps if the lender checking your score uses your Experian credit report.
They may pull from one of the other two major credit bureaus.
Parents can help their kids build credit by adding them as authorized users to an account when they're juniors or seniors in high school.
A secured account is another option. It's a credit card that's considered secured because you make a cash deposit upfront equal to the limit on the card.
Student loans also count towards credit, so making sure payments are being paid on time can help.
Missing payments by more than 29 days can hurt your score.
You should also be checking your credit report regularly to make sure there are no mistakes or fraud.
Even a small mistake can have a big impact on your score.
Checks yours for free at annualcreditreport.com.