How to Get A Credit Card When You Have No Credit History

shutterstock_62898868One of the most daunting prospects of achieving adulthood is learning how to manage your money in all of its myriad aspects.

Your Essential First Step in Obtaining A Credit Card

When you’re just starting out in the world of credit, your first order of business is to find a credit card that you can actually get. For people with no credit history or a severely limited credit history, your best bet could very well be a secured card. If you have some cash to put down, you can get a secured card. The money you bank with your credit card issuer will be tied up for as long as you have a card, but otherwise it works like a standard credit card. It can be an important step on the road to establishing good credit.

Get A Credit Card If You Can, But Watch Your Back

While it’s important to get some kind of credit card to get you started building up your credit score, be cautious when applying for cards. The first kinds of cards you’ll be offered will most likely not offer the most advantageous interest rates, terms or conditions. Some cards may charge you a monthly fee instead of an annual fee, which adds to the expense of maintaining this card. Also, some of the cards offered to people with poor or no credit boast outrageous interest rates, sometimes as high as 30%! However, there are many secured credit cards that offer interest rates that are comparable with unsecured cards. In addition, some of these introductory cards have grace periods or the grace periods are really short. (A grace period is the time you have to pay your balance with no interest charged.) Do some comparison shopping online.

Should You Apply For Multiple Credit Cards?

As the old adage goes, “Slow and steady wins the race.” For newcomers to the world of credit, it’s best to start with one card, use it carefully, and build a record that shows you can use credit sensibly. Once you’ve had your card for a while, say a year or so, you can consider getting another card or two.

You really do need more than one line of credit on your credit report, so having two cards on your credit report will most likely help you out. How many cards is optimal for your credit score? Since credit scoring formulas are held secret, it’s difficult to say without knowing your exact credit situation. Just remember that every time you apply for a new credit card, you will get an inquiry on your credit report which can ding your credit score by up to 5 points each. It’s best to be cautious and methodical, so take your time to build up a history of making your credit card payments on time and keeping your balance low.

Is There An Ideal Time In Your Life To Apply For New Credit Cards?

For those who have never had a credit card before, or taken on any type of loan, they have to remember that they basically have no track record with managing credit. At this point, you most likely do not have any credit score at all.

If you want to build good credit, then you need to open some kind of credit account, whether it’s applying for a car loan or secured credit card. It pays to check the requirements for qualifying so you do not get unneeded inquiries on your credit report. You need to be at least 18 to get a credit card on your own, and when you are under 21 years of age you must demonstrate to potential credit card issuers that you have a job or some other source of income so that you can repay the money you borrow.

Some Guidelines to Follow After Acquiring Your First Credit Card

Since the whole point of getting your first credit card is to work toward a good credit score, you need to be disciplined about how you use it. Here are some good principles to follow:

  • Pay your bills on time, every time. No exceptions.
  • Each month, pay off your outstanding balance(s) so you don’t remain in debt, and you don’t pay interest on the card.
  • Keep your card balance low. A good rule of thumb is to keep any outstanding balances around 30% of your credit limit, 10% for the best credit score results. If you go any higher than 30%, you run the risk of damaging the credit score you’re trying to build up. Your credit utilization is 30% of your credit score.
  • Try checking your credit score and credit report before applying for a credit card or any kind of loan. Make sure you check your credit score at least once a year, after you’ve been issued your first card. It’s easy and it’s free. Just visit com, and you can obtain a yearly free credit report from all of the major credit reporting agencies: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion.
  • Be careful about closing down existing credit card accounts. Once you’ve established good credit, you’ll be able to qualify for credit cards with better terms and interest rates. However, that doesn’t mean that you should immediately dump your older, less advantageous cards. Remember that part of your credit score is your credit history, including the length of time that you’ve maintained credit accounts in good standing. If the older card doesn’t charge a high inactivity fee or otherwise penalize you for not using it, keep it. It’s always a good idea to have additional credit available. Besides, closing out a credit account may, in fact, hurt your credit score, and you don’t want that.

Don’t Damage Your Credit With Impulsive Purchases

In closing, please keep this principle in mind. Remember ,even though the first credit card gives you a big taste of independence and opens up a world of opportunities, don’t be foolish with your credit. Once you’ve managed to acquire your first credit card, don’t go crazy with it. You should only use it for essential purchases such as paying utility bills when your bank account is empty. Before making any large purchase with a credit card, carefully consider how much you’re putting on your credit card, how long it will take to pay it off, and how much interest you’ll wind up paying. That will reveal the true cost of your big credit card purchase.

Related Articles:

Good (And Not-So-Good) Alternatives to Credit Cards

What Does It Take To Buy a House Without Credit?

6 Ways to Build Credit Even If You Don’t Believe in Credit Cards

Posted in Uncategorized
Learn how it works

Questions about credit repair?

Chat with an expert: 1-800-255-0263

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn