your first credit card

Getting a first credit card is a big step, and can be a great way to start on the road to financial freedom and independence. Start out right and spend wisely with these strategies.

Think twice

Don’t use your credit card to make impulse purchases or spend money you don’t currently have. If you can’t trust yourself not to use the card to buy things, put it away so you only use it for planned purchases.

Advice for Life: Building
a Good Credit Score

build-good-credit

Pay it down

Rather than simply paying the minimum on purchases, try to pay off your credit card each month. At the very least, pay the minimum plus a set amount toward the balance. Otherwise, you risk paying more for items than they are worth because you will be paying finance charges on top of the cost of the item. Paying more than the minimum also reflects well on your credit history.

Keep to your schedule

Know when your payments are due and how much they are to avoid late fees and credit history problems.

When you open your first credit card, you start building a credit history that will stay with you for many years. It’s important to learn how credit cards work and how to use them wisely before opening one, so that you can build a strong foundation for your credit.

Check out the secured cards that are currently being offered to people with a thin credit profile. Apply for the one that looks right for you and then wait. When you’re approved, fantastic: you’re ready to charge.

Now, always keep in mind two major factors:

  1. You do not want to get into expensive and long-term debt, so spend only what you can and will pay off in full in a month’s time.
  2. Remember that “they” are perpetually watching. How you conduct yourself with that card will constantly be reported and scored. So build your credit rating by paying on time and keeping that balance low.

Eventually you may want to get another card or loan. Your excellent history with the first will make you attractive to all others that follow.

Advice for Life: College
and Credit Cards

What do I need to know about credit cards?

How can I responsibly build my credit?

Are credit cards safe?

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Helpful Resources

5 Tips For Getting The Most From Your Credit Card
Identity Theft Solutions
Compare credit cards at Bankrate.com and CreditCards.com
Compare Redstone Credit Cards

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