Credit scores are needed to qualify for a car loan or mortgage. And the way you establish a credit history is by getting a credit card, right? That’s a familiar personal finance myth that has led millions of Americans to get their first credit card — and risk falling into high-interest debt, experts say.

The average American in 2017 had two-bank issued credit cards and carried $5,551 in debt, according to the credit bureau Experian. Collectively, Americans have $1 trillion in credit card debt, more than any country in the world.

Here are four ways consumers can create a credit history without falling into the credit card trap.

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