I remember the first time I applied for a credit card. It was a bit nerve-wracking, to be honest—I wasn’t sure how hard it would be to get approved, and what I’d have to do if I was rejected.
Luckily, after doing some research and following these six steps, I got my very first credit card without any hiccups. Now that you’ve decided that getting a credit card is right for you (you can find out more about whether you’re ready here), it’s time to get prepped for your application process.
When to get a credit card
- When you’re ready to start spending money
- When you’re ready to start building credit
- When you’re ready to start being responsible with money
- When you’re ready to build your credit history
How many credit cards should you have?
A good rule of thumb is to have one or two credit cards. It’s also important not to apply for too many at once, as this can make it seem like you’re desperate for a credit card (which isn’t great).
On the other hand, if there are times when you need more than one card, such as travel emergencies or split payments with friends, having more than one will ensure that you are covered.
What types of credit cards are there?
- Reward credit cards are the best kind of card. They give you points and miles that can be redeemed for cash back, flights or hotels. You’ll want to get one of these if you’re a frequent traveler who wants to keep track of all their expenses.
- Travel credit cards often come with benefits like trip cancellation insurance, car rental collision damage waivers and roadside assistance programs when traveling abroad. These types of cards are great for anyone planning to travel soon and needs some extra protection from having their plans ruined by unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather or health issues that prevent them from getting on an airplane.
- Student credit cards are designed specifically for students who need a little help getting their first card but don’t want something overly complicated (like parents). They usually offer zero percent introductory interest rates on new purchases or balance transfers during an introductory period, making it easier than ever before for college students looking at what’s next after graduation day! Just remember not all student cards offer these kinds of perks – so shop around before applying (and always read over any fine print)!
Where to get a credit card
Credit card companies are the first place to look for a credit card. Banks, credit unions, and online-only lending sites like Credit Karma or NerdWallet offer credit cards that can be used anywhere, as long as you have a small initial deposit to open an account. While some banks may require more documentation than others in order to qualify for a card, most will ask for your personal information (name, address, date of birth), income details (monthly income) and employment record (the job you currently have). You may also need proof of identity such as driver’s license or passport photo page. Some cards will even let you build up your credit history with them without applying at all! If this is something that interests you then check out our top picks below:
- Chase Freedom
How to apply for a credit card for the first time
Once you’ve decided to apply for a credit card, it’s important that you do your research before taking the plunge. The best way to do this is by checking out all of the information about each credit card company online. This includes looking at their website and reading through the terms and conditions of their cards, as well as checking out reviews on social media platforms such as Twitter.
The next step is getting your credit report and score. This can be done through annualcreditreport.com, which was set up by Congress so that consumers could access their free reports from all three major bureaus (Experian, Equifax and TransUnion). Having access to these documents will help you identify any errors in them so that they can be fixed before applying for a new line of credit. Once everything checks out with regard to your credit history, then it’s time to look into what types of cards are available based on factors like rewards programs or benefits packages such as travel insurance coverage or extended warranties on purchases made using certain types of cards like American Express Blue Cash Preferred Card from American Express because they offer triple cash back rewards when used at grocery stores (6% cash back) along with 2% cash back at gas stations plus 1% everywhere else which means users get a total 7% rebate when spending money at those places!
Once you’ve narrowed down some choices based on these criteria
What is a good credit score?
A good credit score is one that is at or above 700. This means you are considered low risk, and thus more likely to be approved for loans, credit cards and mortgages.
The range of possible scores is 300 to 850. Scores below 600 indicate that a lender should not extend any credit to you because you are considered too high risk and may default on your payments.
How do you decide what type of credit card is best for you?
There are a multitude of factors that go into deciding what kind of credit card is best for you. These include:
- Your current spending habits
- Your long-term goals
- The reward program on the card or cards you’re considering
For example, if you like to travel and want to rack up airline miles, a travel-reward credit card might be your best bet. A cashback rewards program could be more beneficial if you plan on using the money toward big purchases like appliances or furniture. A standard rewards program is ideal if you aren’t sure what type of spending will benefit most from the points system in place at this time—if it’s something that can be categorized as groceries, gas or drugstore purchases (to name just a few), then this type of card may suit your lifestyle well.
Get ready, apply, and start spending (responsibly)!
Once you’ve completed the application, it’s time to wait. You may be approved, declined, or in a state of limbo until your credit report is reviewed. If you’re approved with a low limit or high interest rate, that won’t always be a bad thing: use your card wisely and pay off the balance every month and then make sure that as soon as possible you request an increase in your credit limit (and lower interest rate if applicable).
If you’re denied by one bank but get approved by another one, don’t be discouraged—this happens all the time! As long as there isn’t an obvious error on your application or something else going on behind-the-scenes at either bank that would disqualify them from granting approval (for example: owing too much money), then try re-applying at other banks until you get accepted somewhere.
Now you have a good idea of how to get a credit card. In summary, here’s what you need to do:
Figure out the type of credit card that best suits your needs and make sure it’s one with a reputable issuer who will protect your personal information.
Make sure you’re eligible for the credit limit and any additional benefits before applying by doing some research online or by asking someone at an in-person branch location. If necessary, apply online using the link provided on their website (or call them up on their toll-free number). The process should only take about 20 minutes! After all these steps have been completed successfully – congratulations! You now know how easy it is to get yourself started on owning your very first credit card!