I remember my first time. There was nothing else that I wanted except to be an adult. To be independent and responsible for my own life. Crossing this threshold is often a sign of stumbling into adulthood. I gave it some serious thought before I decided to take the leap. It wasn’t a decision that I wanted to take lightly. I thought about the many ways this could ruin my life for years to come. Whether I would make a mistake or whether my instincts would kick in and help my overcome my nerves.
Do you remember your first time? How did you feel? If it’s anything like my first time, I imagine there were some feelings of nervousness, anxiety, excitement, anticipation. Most people wait for their first time until they are adults, while some other jump the gun and get ahead. Did that one confuse you?
Still don’t know what I’m talking about? Well, applying for your first credit card, of course. What did you think I was talking about.
Why Getting a Credit Card Matters – The Benefits of Using a Credit Card
Applying for a credit card is an important first step in adulthood. While some people will tell you to stay away from them, I am a firm believer that they are essential. You’ll recall that my friend got denied for financing despite her solid employment and savings because her credit history was poor. Using credit cards is in no way evil or detrimental to your finances. It may be a means or avenue for YOU to ruin your own financial position, but it’s not the credit card’s fault. In fact, using a credit card wisely has many benefits.
- Boosts Your Credit Score/History – If you think you will ever want to buy a home or get financing for a car, you will need a good credit history and credit score. Basically, lenders want to see that you are reliable and responsible with the credit given to you. There’s fewer ways that are better to prove this to them than using a credit card and paying it off each month.
- Teaches You Responsibility – Learning how to control the urge to splurge (did you like that rhyme?) early on can be extremely beneficial for your finances. Knowing when to say no to unnecessary expenses is an important lesson to learn in adulthood. There’s no better way to discipline yourself than to start early on.
- Learn How to Pay Bills Early – One of the challenges (yes, it is a challenge for many young adults, don’t laugh) for young adults, when venturing off onto their own, is learning to pay bills. This is a challenging time for people and the most skills that you have mastered going into this transition phase, the better.
- Cash Back Rewards – The people who live their life with an all cash budget are missing out on cash back rewards. Credit card companies, in attempt to lure you into using their credit cards, offer cash back rewards. This means that for all of the money that you spend using your credit card, you get a certain percentage back. This is money back on expenses that you would normally spend. The earlier you sign up for a credit card, the earlier you will save more money. (One of the first credit cards to offer 5% cash back on rotating categories, and one of the best still, is the Discover It Card.)
My First Credit Card
As I have mentioned before, I understood the benefits of getting a credit card at an early age. This is one of the reason why I have a high credit score, even at an early age. I was quite ambitious growing up. I applied for my first credit card when I was 18. Because some credit cards are hard to qualify for without any previous credit history (which is kind of ironic – if you need credit history to build up credit, then how do you get qualify in the first place), I applied for a credit card through my bank. Because I had been a long-time customer, I thought that might help my chances. I was right. I got approved for my first credit card with $1000 limit.
This wasn’t enough for me though. I wanted a second card to start building up my good credit history at an early age. I had heard that using two credit cards regularly and paying them off was even better than using one. So, what’s an ambitious 18 year old, making very little money to do? I applied for an American Express Credit card and was denied! That’s right – my first rejection. For a while I took it personally until I heard that American Express is more difficult to qualify for.
I didn’t let this get me down and I later applied for the Discover It Card. I was approved and I had secured my goal of getting a second card. To my surprise, I found out the benefits of cash back rewards. As I used my credit cards to pay for everyday expenses (even paying for my tuition balances in college), I saved hundreds of dollars a year while also boosting my credit score and history. What’s not to like about that?
How to Get Your First Credit Card to Build Up Credit History
Getting your first credit card without any credit history can be a challenge. If you are wondering how to get your first credit card, I highly recommend one of the following things:
- Applying through your local bank, hoping that this may increase your chances of getting approved
- Being added to your parents credit card as an authorized user to give you some positive history
- Apply for a student credit card (like the Discover It Student Card)