Entering adulthood can be intimidating. For many people, this is the first time you are doing things all on your own. While this can be daunting, it is also a very exciting time. Adulting comes with plenty of new opportunities that allow you to bloom! You are now in control of your own bills, budget, and life. One step in making this all a little easier to handle is applying for your first credit card. Getting your own credit card will allow you to build credit and help you later in life with qualifying for loans, mortgages, and car payments. Choosing the right credit card can be scary. That is why we have put together 6 tips to help you pick the perfect card for you!
1. Avoid credit cards with annual fees
Many student cards or cards for first-time users do not have an annual fee. Cards that charge an annual fee usually come with rewards and insurance benefits but there are companies that offer these benefits without a yearly charge.
2. If you are a student, find a card that rewards you for good grades!
Student credit cards are a great option for first time credit card users! Many of them offer rewards for doing well in school. For example, Discover it Chrome rewards users with $20 statement credit when their GPA is 3.0 or above. This is a great way to save a little when using your credit card.
3. Find a card that offers cashback
A lot of cards offer cashback when using the card at certain stores or companies. For example, if the card has a deal with Amazon for a month, a percentage of the money you spend at Amazon during that time period will be reward back to you at the end. This cashback money can then go towards paying part of your statement.
4. Use the card frequently (but do not charge too much on it)
It is good to use the card often once you get it to help build credit, but you do not want to charge too much. Putting more than you can afford on your credit card is definitely a no go. It is good to put a few purchases on it every month but keep them minimal.
5. Always pay on time and the full amount
This tip is key! Paying on time ensures that you will not be charged any late fees. Credit card companies usually give you the choice of paying a portion of your statement or the full amount owed. It is good to pay on time and the full amount to avoid any negative effects on your credit score and having to pay off more in the next month.
6. Review your monthly statements
Once you get a card and receive your statement, it is always important to double check it for any extra payments or charges that do not look familiar. While it is unlikely extra charges will occur, it is always better to be safe than sorry. A great way to keep track of charges is to use bloom’s Monthly Planner with a budgeting page in the back or our Budgeting Printable!
BONUS TIP: Pay your credit bill AS SOON AS you charge something to it.
This was a major piece of advice my father gave me when I got my first credit card. If you use your card at a store or restaurant, it is good to login and pay the amount right when you get home or within a few days, even if it is before you receive a bill. When calculating credit scores, the amount of time it takes you to pay off a charge plays a factor. Also, then you will not worry about possibly missing a payment because you know you already paid it off right after you charged the card.
Also, if you are having a hard time getting a card or qualifying for one, become an authorized user on a parent’s or guardian's card. This will allow you to build your credit score so you can get a card in the future.
Along with these tips and tricks, it is extremely important to do some research before deciding to apply for a card. There are plenty of websites out there, like nerdwallet.com, that compare different cards to each other. These sites allow you to view the benefits of different credit cards on the same webpage for easier understanding. Applying for a credit card is not as scary as it seems. It is just one extra step in becoming the independent, girl boss that you are meant to be!
the bloom team