Getting your first credit card is an exciting time. Whether it is credit cards for teens or anyone who simply hasn’t created a credit history yet, it is an important quest. If you wish, you can apply for a credit card once you turn 18. But be aware that with a credit card comes responsibility, both to use the card properly and to pay the bill on time. Before you apply for your first credit card read the following 6 tips:
Just because you can do something does not mean that you should do it. There are certain things in life that require a bit of emotional readiness, something that we have not necessarily achieved just because we have reached a certain age. A credit card is one of those things. Yes, a credit card brings with it a certain sense of freedom, but also responsibility. Before you get credit cards for teens or simply get your own first credit card, no matter your age, ensure that you understand what a credit card is and how you should use it responsibly. Set yourself guidelines for how you will use it and what you will buy with it. Be sure that you feel emotionally ready to handle the freedom and obligation that a credit card brings.
Federal law under the Credit Card Act of 2009 requires that you have a job with verifiable income, or a co-signer, before you can get a credit card. This means that you cannot get a credit card because you have an allowance or a savings account. It also means that, unlike those over 21, you cannot just say how much money you make; you must actually prove it. So be prepared to show a paystub or other proof that you have a job before you apply for a card.
If this is your first credit card attempt then you probably don’t have any credit right now. In this situation, assuming you are in school, then a credit cards for students may be a good place to begin. Often they have easier credit score requirements, as long as you have an income.
Store cards, such as Macy’s or Wal-Mart, often have more relaxed credit requirements than “universal” cards, such as Visa or American Express. These cards can be great credit cards for teens, a good place to begin your quest for credit. In addition, these cards can help you avoid the temptation to overspend because you are limited in where you can use them.
Secured cards are also good credit cards for teens, sound options for the person new to the world of credit. With a secured card you make a contribution to a savings account that secures your credit. So, you might send the credit card company $50. Then, they hold this $50 and give you a credit card with a limit of $50 (often more). Usually, if you use the credit card responsibly they release the deposit to you in a year or two and viola – you have a regular credit card. And just so you know, it doesn’t say “secured” on the card, so no one else has to know that it is not a “traditional” credit card.
Figuring out what card is best for you can be a challenge. Using a company that specializes in matching people with credit cards can take the mystery out of the process. Student credit card offers come in all shapes and sizes, so do your research first to ensure you are getting the best interest rate, fees and benefits possible.
Once you have a credit card be sure that you use it responsibly. This is not free money, not money to be played with – it is borrowing money that you have yet to earn. Try not to rack up debt, but rather pay your card off in full each month. But first, choose the best card for you. To help you find the right credit card for your credit history, lifestyle and needs check out LINK TO CARDMATCH ON WEBSITE or some other article in this book.
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