First Time Credit Card Application

Do not apply for the card without knowing what you want from the card. This is the number one tip I can give someone who is applying for a credit card for the first time. Credit card companies like to tell their customers what they think they want, you have to know what YOU want before applying for a card. If you plan on carrying a monthly balance on the card you should want a card with the lowest possible APR. If you plan on making a ton of purchases with the card you should consider getting a card that offers cash back or a good rewards program. If you do not plan on using the card very often you should focus on a card that has low fees and is generally consumer friendly. There are enough credit cards available to where there will be a certain “type” of card for you no matter your credit score or financial situation.

First time credit card application is a serious step, do not apply for the card without knowing your own financial situation first. If you are applying for a credit card for the first time one of the best things you can do for yourself is to take into account your own financial situation. You need to know your credit score, if you have one. If you have no past credit history you will have a hard time gaining access to a traditional unsecured credit card, but it is definitely possible. If your credit score is less than 600 you will have a very difficult time getting access to a traditional card and you should look into getting a secured credit card or improving your credit score significantly before applying for a card. Prepaid debit cards are another option you could go with if you cannot seem to land an unsecured credit card.

If you are applying for the first time online, make sure the site is trustworthy. Remember that you will be entering serious personal and financial information. You will likely have to give out your social security number, access to your credit report… Your identity could easily be stolen if you give out the wrong information to the wrong people. There is nothing wrong with applying for a credit card online or by paper, but you need to make sure you can recognize and trust the company you are working with. Visa, Discover, Mastercard are all legitimate credit card companies that you can trust. There are a ton of “phishing” scams out there, you get an E-mail that appears to be from a reputable credit card company asking you to enter your personal information, it turns out to be a website run by scammers who are looking to steal your identity. You have to be very careful when entering your personal information online!

If you are someone who is applying for a credit card for the first time, you likely do not have much of a credit history, it is important that you only apply for cards “in your league”. It is tough to gain access to unsecured lines of credit these days if you do not have a solid credit history. Do not bother wasting your time applying for premier cards meant for people with great credit [750+ credit score]. Applying for a credit card online or by paper can take 30 minutes or so from start to finish so you do not want to spend a decent chunk of your free time in a day applying for a card just to get a rejection letter in a couple of weeks. As a first time credit card owner you should still have “standards” with regards to the card’s APR, annual fees [or lack thereof]…, but you cannot be too picky.

Be honest. There are situations in life where you can get away with “stretching the truth”, a first time credit card application is no time to try to be anything but honest. Do not over state your income; do not intentionally misrepresent your personal information in any way or for any reason. Lying on your credit card application will not end up helping you anyways, because you will not be able to get away with it. Credit card companies do not give out thousands of dollars in unsecured credit without doing serious background checks and whatnot. If you are able to get away with being dishonest on your application it will catch up with you eventually.