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A great first step is to get a secured credit card. You’re essentially guaranteed approval for a card like this, since it uses a cash security deposit from you as the basis for your credit limit.

Here’s how it works: When you’re approved for a card, you’ll be required to put down a security deposit, usually around $300 to $500. That deposit will then become your credit limit. Secured credit cards report to the credit bureaus, which means that you’ll still be able to build credit—without risking getting too deep into debt. After you’ve proven you’re responsible with a secured credit card, many issuers will transfer it to an unsecured card, and increase your credit limit, which can take a year. Here’s a list of secured credit cards to consider.