Well, it’s not as cool as getting your first car, but if you’re thinking about getting a credit card for the first time, there are a few things you might want to think about. With so many companies and products available, getting your first credit card can definitely be a challenge. But, fear not, Budget Blonde is here to help! With a little knowledge of the basics, you will definitely be able to pick the best one for you.
Step 1: Find Out Your Credit Score
Eek! Scary, I know, but you shouldn’t expect a super high score. This is your first card after all, and you need to build a credit history. However, it shouldn’t be too low either unless you’ve had other financial struggles in the past. When you apply for a credit card your credit rating will be used to decide whether you’re approved. Basically lenders want to see whether you’ll be able to repay any credit offered. They take in to account any long-term agreements you’ve had, such as cell phone contracts, in order to gauge this. If you find out that you actually have a poor credit score, you can improve it in a number of ways, like going for a card with a higher interest rate and demonstrating that you’re are able to make repayments on time.
Compare Credit Cards
Credit card comparison websites make this easy peasy. So, find one you can trust and spend some time searching through it to see what’s being offered. It’s also worth talking to your existing bank because they may be able to give you a preferential deal to reward your loyalty.
Look for An Awesome Interest Rate
Some cards won’t charge you interest on purchases for a set period – usually a few months, then the percentage can really jump. So, be sure to check the fine print. Of course, the best thing you could ever do is get into the habit of paying off your cards in full every month. I wish I had since it took me forever to get credit card debt free. Don’t make the same mistakes I did, and be smart from the beginning!
Don’t Over Apply
When the time comes to apply, try to avoid applying for multiple credit cards since this will affect your credit score and may have an impact on your chances of getting accepted in future. Just start off with one and see how it goes. You can always add more over time.
So, is there anything I missed? Does anyone else have tips for first time credit card users?
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21 responses to “Tips for Getting Your First Credit Card”
Nice tips! I would just say dont go overboard applying for cards. One credit card is more than enough when you are first starting out. Debt can quickly build up so save yourself the hassle and learn do deal with one first.
Definitely compare cards! So many offer bonuses for signing up and other great perks.
Our first credit card had a whopping $300 limit because we had no history and a mountain of student loans.
Now the company will just raise the limit without even asking. Not sure why.
Oh yeah, spend more!
I definitely compare credit cards, although I compare rewards more than I compare interest rates. Interest rates don’t matter to us because we never carry a balance!
thanks for sharing those tips is very helpfu
Good tips! After 9 years with the same card (im not that old, started building credit at 16), I am finally considering apply for a different card that has rewards that are more tailored to my lifestyle. I plan to keep my ‘old’ card open since it is my understanding that it is better for your credit score than closing it.
One thing to keep in mind is that for purposes of credit score, the older your credit cards are, the better. If you are thinking about a large purchase (especially a house) it may be best to wait to add new credit cards.
I’d say keep an eye on if the card charges annual or any other fees. If it’s a rewards card and you are incredibly responsible with it, you could do the math and see if the fee is worth it. But I feel like most of the time it’s not.
Getting a credit card for the first time is exciting for some people although I have no idea why.It’s only a piece of plastic with money you can spend that you haven’t even made yet. Even so we continue to sign up for them, and for us it’s rewards that we get our high from but getting the right card is still important.
Not over applying is a great tip. It’s so easy to get carried away applying for cards. It’s best to wait a year or more before applying for your second or asking for a credit line increase. I waited four years before getting a second and was easily able to get a new travel rewards card when I applied. Funny thing is I still use my first one 99% of the time.
My first credit card was a Macy’s card….and I had a $150 limit! =)
I’ll definitely take note of those when I become eligible to get my own credit card. Thanks!
I like the tip of comparing credit cards. As others have noted, it’s beneficial to keep a card around for years if you can…so picking the right one can be important.
I signed up for my first credit card in college because they gave me a $25 prepaid phone card a T-shirt. Sign up bonuses are so much better nowadays. No interest rates are cool, but never sign up for them and spend because of it. Always have enough money to pay for whatever you bought on credit.
I would agree with not over applying, especially for department store ones. Those interest rates are outrageous. Great tips!
Pay them off in full at the end of each month and don’t charge anything you can’t afford. If you can only afford to pay the minimum balance, don’t get credit cards to begin with. I know some people get an interest free for 12 months type offer and then pay off the balance in full then, but I wouldn’t suggest that for a frist time credit card user. It’s too easy to get caught up in spending and not pay off the balance in full at the end of the specified time frame.
Really good tips! It’s funny how you can’t get credit unless you’ve had some sort of credit if you know what I mean. Mobile phone contracts are definitely a good way to start building credit. I would add for first time credit card owners – make sure that you’re getting a credit card for the right reasons and try to pay back more than the minimum payment each month. This will not only help your credit rating but also hopefully you won’t end up in debt for too long.
I always look for lowest interest rate and good cash back offers which comes with credit cards. MY favorite is chase freedom which i use daily for purchases to rack in the cash back
Great post. My first credit card was Macy’s card too, got my real lesson on how interest rate works and how those guys capitalize on you with minimum payment.