Your First Credit Card

One of the first things young adults need to know when they’re starting out on their own, is how important it is to build and maintain good credit. Your credit rating is the basis of how you are treated by the big businesses. You will find yourself needing to work and deal with them throughout your life.

Cartoon image of a man in a suite holding an oversized credit card

If you are renting an apartment, applying for insurance, a car loan, or even another credit card, your credit rating is going to be a factor. Sometimes when applying for a new job they may review your credit report as a reflection of your personal integrity.

Everyone realizes that life isn’t always perfect. There may be a time when some people are not able to meet their obligations temporarily. When a reasonable explanation is given and evidence that you are actively attempting to rectify the situation, financial institutions and other large companies understand and view this as a favorable indication of your veracity.

One of the easiest ways to begin to establish your credit, is by applying for a credit card. There are multiple choices of credit card features that will fit your lifestyle. Your first card will probably have a pretty low limit. It’s after you’ve proven your credit worthiness, your credit limit will gradually increase.

Before you apply for that very first credit card, you should know the key questions to ask.

  • Does it have a low introductory offer?
  • If it has a low introductory offer, how long does it last?
  • Is the low introductory offer for transferred balances, new charges, or does it apply to both?
  • After the introductory low interest rate, what is the regular interest rate?
  • Does this credit card charge an annual fee?
  • What is the amount of the late fee?
  • Does this card have an over-the-limit fee?

Consider these questions when applying for any credit card, not just your first. Use the answers to help you compare offers so you can choose the best one. Before you sign on that dotted line, like with anything new, be sure to read the fine print. How you handle this card and meet your credit obligation is important. Your adherence will reflect on your credit rating and will effect you for years to come.

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