Piggyback on someone else’s good credit
The fastest way to establish a credit history can be to “borrow” another’s record, either by being added to a credit card as an “authorized” or joint user or by getting someone to co-sign a loan for you.
Having a co-signer can allow you to qualify for loans you might not otherwise get. The loan will show up on your credit report and, if you pay it off responsibly, will help boost your credit score.
If you default, however, you won’t be the only one who suffers. The co-signer has basically promised to make good on this account, so any delinquencies will show up on her credit report as well.
Being added as an “authorized user” has its risks, for you as well as the person giving you access to the card.
If your father makes you an authorized user of his credit card, for example, his history with that account can be imported to your credit bureau file, giving you an instant credit record. If he has handled the account well, that reflects well on you. But if he hasn't, his mistakes would also become yours. Any late payments or other problems could make it harder for you to get future credit than if you’d established your history without help.
Even if you trust the person adding you to the card, you may not be able to piggyback on his or her credit. Some credit issuers won’t report authorized users to the credit bureaus, particularly if the user is not married to the original card holder. If the point is to give you a credit history, the person who’s adding you as an authorized user should call the issuer and ask how (or if) your status as a user will be reported.