If you’ve checked your mail or shopped at a retail store recently, chances are an eye-catching ad or an eager salesperson have done their best to persuade you into applying for a credit card. Opportunities to establish credit are everywhere and can be overwhelming, but choosing your first card does not have to be. A few simple steps will allow you to choose the best option for your needs, and you’ll be building your credit in no time! Related: 5 Best Cards For People With No Credit History
Compare and ContrastDo your research. Your current circumstances play a role in making the right choice. Starting with a prepaid or secured card is an excellent option for people who cringe at the thought of adding another bill to their monthly budget. Others may opt for a card designed for students with lower interest rates and fewer fees. It’s okay to be picky! Choosing your first credit card is an important decision; weighing your options will ensure you make the right one. Be sure to run a free credit check before getting a card, that way you’ll know what kind of card you qualify for.
The Cautious ConsumerIf you’re applying for your first credit card, odds are you do not have a very long credit history. Don’t fret; there are many credit options for people with no credit. See all of our cards for people with limited credit here >>
Consumers can easily be lured in by free gifts and high credit limits, but looking at the big picture is key. So we caution you to always read the fine print. Many of the card options available to first time credit card holders have higher interest rates, and fees associated. Make sure you read the full terms and conditions so you’re not surprised on that first statement.
Don’t apply for multiple credit cards at the same time. Submitting too many credit card applications can damage your credit, so be sure you apply for the one card you really want. Applying for five cards just to see which one you get approved for is negligent, and will only do more harm than good. Keep Reading: What You Need To Know About Your Credit Score
Quick TipsOnce you choose your first card, follow these simple steps to keep it in good standing:
- Don’t overspend – Many first time credit card holders fall into the trap of using their card as if it’s free money. Only spend what you know you can pay back each month.
- Pay more than the minimum balance – If possible, pay your bill in full each month. This will help to establish your credit. If you can’t pay the full amount, pay the majority.
- Pay on time – Late fees can add up quickly and make your balance more difficult to pay. Be sure to pay your bill on time each and every month.
- Check your statements – To catch any errors or unexpected fees, read your statements thoroughly and contact the credit card company if you do find something suspicious.
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