It seems like you can’t do anything these days without a major credit card. But what if you or your adult kids don’t have one yet? If you’re wondering if it’s time to get a credit card have other questions, we have a few answers for you.
- Turning 18
For credit card companies, turning 18 is the magic number for being able to apply for a credit card. But just because you can, it doesn’t always mean you should! If you’re 18 or older and have a steady source of income, then yes, it might be time to get a credit card. You want to start establishing your credit as soon as possible.
- Credit Help
If you’re credit has hit a speed bump or you need help getting out of debt, it might be time to get your first credit card – or a new card. If your credit is on the decline, it may be harder to get a card. But if you can make payments, getting a credit card can help boost your score. Just don’t max out your limit! Also, if you’re overwhelmed by debt, getting a low-rate 0% balance transfer card to consolidate your debt might be the answer. So might our Visa Rewards Credit Card.
- Major Purchase
If you’ve got to furnish your family room or replace a broken refrigerator, then a credit card may help. Seriously, most of us don’t have several thousands of dollars waiting to be spent! Many stores offer 0% cards. However, make sure you’ve paid off the card before the 0% introductory offer ends, or you’ll be paying more than you bargained for.
- Secured Credit Cards
If this is your first card or your credit score is less than desirable, you may want to consider starting out with a secured credit card. With a secured card, you make a deposit of anywhere from $100 or more. Whatever your deposit is, that’s what your credit limit is. Pay your balance off each month and establish or rebuild your credit and then you’ll be eligible for a regular credit card before you know it. WWFCU offers a secured credit card, in case you were wondering!
- Student Credit Cards
If you’re a college student and getting your first card, you might want to check out the student credit cards that are available. Many come with great perks, discounts on textbooks and some even reward you for good grades.
Things to Consider
There are a few things you should consider and compare when shopping for your first credit card:
- Review rates and fees
Many cards have great introductory rates. Read the fine print to see how long the introductory period is and what your rate will be when it ends. Also, some cards charge fees like annual fees, etc. Compare rates and fees before choosing one.
- Shop Welcome Bonuses
In addition to introductory rates, many cards offer points or miles if you get their card. Some may really make it worth your while, so take a look and see which one has perks that appeal to you.
- Make Monthly Minimum Payments
Be sure to make at least your minimum payment each month. If you can pay off the balance every month, even better. If you don’t, you’ll be paying interest on your balance as well as any new purchases. Paying less now means you’ll pay more later.
- Pay On Time
Get a bill reminder app or do whatever you can to remind you to pay your credit card bills on time. Late payments come with fees, extra interest and a ding to your credit score. Some cards charges as much as $40 per late payment.
- Keep Balances Low
As tempting as it is to charge up to your credit limits, avoid it if you can. Carrying a high balance negatively affects your credit score. Credit reporting agencies like to see low credit utilization ratios (the percentage of available credit that you use).
- Watch Your Statements and Credit Report
Credit card fraud is the most common form of identity theft, so be vigilant. Take a close look at your monthly credit card statements to make sure there are no unknown charges. Also, be sure to review your credit report regularly to make sure there are no mistakes. Go to com to get a free copy of your credit card. You can get one per credit reporting agency per year, so check it every four months.
- Get Alerts
If you’re a WWFCU member and have our Visa Rewards Credit Card, then you can get CardNav. This free app lets you control when, where and how your card is used. It’ll send you alerts if anything seems suspect. Our card also comes with FREE identity theft protection and credit monitoring.