The top 5 credit cards offer good initial bonuses, valuable rewards, intro APRs on purchases and balance transfers, as well as $0 fees. As a result, the top credit cards can help you save hundreds of dollars per year.
Keep in mind that there are many worthy candidates for the top 5 credit cards, each of which excels in different areas. You can check out our editors’ latest picks for the best credit cards on the market to see which one suits your needs better.
Finding the right credit card can be stressful, with so many offers to consider and so much jargon and fine print to decipher. But as long as you follow these simple pointers, you’ll be fine.
Compare credit cards before applying. Otherwise, there’s no way of telling whether you’re getting the best deal. Marketing can be deceiving, after all. … read full answer
Make sure your credit is match. You should only consider applying for a credit card if it matches your credit standing. For example, don’t apply for an excellent-credit credit card if you have fair credit. Getting turned down will only make it harder to get approved the second time around.
Don’t apply in bulk. You should not submit more than a couple credit card applications within a short period of time, as this can lead to a roughly six-month dip in your credit score.
For more tips, check out WalletHub’s guide on finding the right type of credit card for your needs. And for your convenience, here are some benchmarks to consider as you wade your way through the credit card comparison process:
Market Snapshot: 1,000+ Credit Card Offers
You can learn more about the average terms offered by credit cards in popular categories from WalletHub’s latest Credit Card Landscape Report.
To get a credit card for the first time, you should first check if you have any credit history, then compare cards and pick the best offer before applying. In order to be eligible to apply for your first credit card, you must be at least 18 years old and have enough income to afford monthly credit card payments. Below, you can learn more about the process of picking, applying for and getting your first credit card, step by step.… read full answer
How to Get a Credit Card for the First Time
See if you have a credit report and score
You could have more credit history than you think, perhaps from being an authorized user on a family member’s credit card. You can check your latest credit score and credit report for free on WalletHub to see. This will help you determine how good of a credit card you should shoot for.
Determine whether student credit cards are an option
College students can usually get better first credit cards than other people with no credit. Their youth and above-average expected income make them attractive to banks and credit unions. If you’re enrolled in school, check out the best student credit cards.
Compare secured and unsecured starter cards
Secured credit cards have the highest approval odds, but they require you to place a refundable security deposit. The amount of that deposit typically becomes your spending limit. Unsecured cards are harder to get but have no deposit.
Limit your search to cards with the lowest fees
Focus on weeding out cards with expensive non-refundable fees. A no annual fee credit card with no security deposit is best. But a low-fee secured card isn’t bad, either. You can get back your deposit when you close your account.
Choose the best remaining offer for your needs
If several credit cards are tied for the lowest fees and highest approval odds, consider the terms that are next most important to you. If you plan to pay your bill in full every month, that will probably be rewards. If not, you may want to focus on interest rates.
Confirm you have enough income
If you’re at least 21 years old, you can list household income and assets that you have reasonable access to on your credit card application. Applicants who are 18-20 years old can only list independent income and assets, but even having a part-time job should provide enough income to get a credit card for the first time.
Submit your credit card application
Apply online for the fastest decision. You may even be approved instantly if you clearly meet the issuer’s criteria. You should receive your card within 7-10 business days of being approved.
Learning how to get a credit card for the first time is a rite of passage for young adults after turning 18 years old. And it’s a lot easier than you might think. The key is to choose wisely, by focusing on offers for people with limited credit and secured credit cards, which provide nearly guaranteed approval.
Key Things to Know About Choosing Your First Credit Card
High approval odds are among the most important things to look for in your first credit card. The sooner you get approved, the sooner you can begin building your credit standing. Getting rejected for a credit card sets you back, both in terms of time and possible damage to your limited credit.
Low fees are another key feature to seek out when getting a credit card for the first time. Starter credit cards generally don’t offer rewards or interest rates worth paying high annual or monthly fees for. So it’s best to make your first credit card one with a $0 annual fee and always pay your monthly bill in full to avoid interest charges.
Tips for Using Your First Credit Card
It’s really important to remember that learning how to get a credit card for the first time and getting approved are only the beginning. You also need to use that card responsibly, which means spending within your means, paying your bill on time every month, and keeping your credit utilization below 30%.
If you can avoid racking up costly credit card debt and hurting your credit score with missed payments, your first credit card will be a huge asset. It will add positive information to your major credit reports each month. That will gradually improve your credit standing. And better credit will make it easier to rent an apartment, buy or lease a car, find a job, get approved for good loans and lines of credit and save on car insurance premiums, among other things.
You can track your progress for free on WalletHub, the only site with free credit scores and reports that are updated daily. We’ll even tell you exactly what you need to do to improve your credit score at a given time, plus provide personalized credit card recommendations. You can use them to find your first credit card and then graduate from it when the time is right.
To get a credit card, you need a Social Security number, a non-P.O. Box U.S. mailing address, some form of income, and to be at least 18 years old. If you’re under 21 years old, you will need your own independent income, rather than shared income, to get a credit card. Your legal name, phone number, email address and date of birth will be required, too. In some cases, an ITIN or passport will be accepted in place of a Social Security number.… read full answer
Even though people who are under 18 years old can’t get their own credit card account, they can easily become an authorized user on an adult’s account. This enables the authorized user to get a card with their name on it and to begin building credit, but they won’t be responsible for paying bills.
Here’s what you need to get a credit card:
Social Security number. ITIN or passport is acceptable, in some cases.
Street address. P.O. Box addresses are not accepted.
Annual income. For applicants under 21 years old, this can’t be shared income.
Age. You must be at least 18 years old. If under 18, you can become an authorized user.
Credit history. You don’t need credit history to get a credit card, but a good credit score will make it possible to get the best cards.
You can get a credit card with just the bare minimum qualifications, but you may not be able to get any credit card. There are credit cards for all categories of creditworthiness, so credit cards have vastly different approval criteria from card to card.
To see what credit cards you might qualify for, start by checking your credit score for free on WalletHub. You’ll also get personalized offers for credit cards that suit your personal financial situation, with approval odds included.
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