How to Apply for a Credit Card for the First Time

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Financial freedom is a blessing and obtaining a credit card can be a great first step towards it. Creating a credit history opens the doors to a financial legacy full of opportunities that will allow for long-term growth. Just knowing how to get there can seem overwhelming, but applying for a credit card for the first time is fairly straightforward. Here is what you need to know to have a smooth process.

How to Open a Credit Card

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Credit cards are everywhere. It might be the reason why you are interested in applying for a credit card. With a credit card comes a few pieces of background information you need to know to find the best match for a lender. Finding a lender will be a critical part of opening a credit card, but knowing how you qualify as a borrower is just as important.

Even without a credit background, you will need to report factors to determine your eligibility that can be done before applying. With this, you will be able to open a credit card. This is what you need to know to apply for your first credit card.

What You Need to Apply for a Credit Card

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Credit card approvals largely go based on your credit score. It tells the bank or entity you are applying to your ability to handle credit from their institution. Being a new applicant will decrease your score being that a credit score is based on the following factors: length of credit history, payment history, types of credit, the amount owed, and new credit. Because of this, knowing your credit score will help you apply for credit cards with high approval odds.

How to Qualify for a Credit Card

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Because you currently hold no credit history, a bank will largely use it as a factor in determining the credit it awards you. Even with approval, it may limit the amount of credit and benefits you hold. The great thing is that while you may not qualify for a large amount of credit due to the fact you don’t hold any credit history, having no bad payment history will allow you to potentially qualify for low or no annual fees, along with low monthly payments. Apart from this, you will need to be at least 18 years old and have a social security number.

You will need to prove a source of income in order to get approved for a credit card. If you do not have an income from a job or government benefits, consider opening a card with someone else who is qualified.

Where to Open a Credit Card

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You are able to check rates and other details before applying – both online and in person. Credit card issuers are required by federal law to publicly disclose certain terms.  Where you open your credit card depends on searching for the lender that will provide the greater benefits.

Consider the lender when you are choosing who to apply through. Is it a reputable bank or card company? Will the card be accepted at places you normally spend money? Choose carefully and consider the annual fees and perks of the credit card.

Credit Card Applications

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The great thing about applications is that they allow you to check if you are pre-qualified or pre-approved. By filling out quick details about your financial history, a hard credit check is avoided on your credit report. This is also another metric that affects your credit history and eligibility for credit.

During the application process, which can be done digitally or in person, you will be asked standard questions regarding your personal information such as your name, date of birth, and contact information. Be prepared to provide additional details regarding your employment history and income. The accuracy of what is reported will play a critical role in the decision of your application. When you are ready to begin your application make sure you have these details on hand. If you are a student, you may also need to provide proof of that as well.

What to do if your Application is Denied

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There are other options if your credit card application is denied. One is a secured credit card. A secured credit card requires a cash deposit to be made which then is equal to the amount of credit you receive. Typical deposits range between $200 to $500 but most credit lines allow you to deposit a higher amount to receive a higher line of credit. The card activity will affect your credit. With a good payment history and no negative impact report, your credit will go up over time.

If you are denied a credit card you will receive an adverse action notice, which will explain the decision behind the denial. With this statement, you will see a detailed explanation giving you insight into what you can do to fix your eligibility for a credit card with the same issuer, or a different one, at a later time. It’s normal to be rejected a few times before being accepted.

Use Your Credit Card Responsibly

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Your credit score follows you far beyond your wallet. Missed or late payments lead to increased interest rates and accrued fees on your account. Issues with your payments make up 35% of your payment history. By making your minimum payment, you remain in good standing. However, interest rates do keep accumulating. This is an essential factor as to why you should avoid reaching your credit limit.

Not only does paying your bills on time affect your credit score, but staying below your credit score allows you to have increased marketability to lenders. Staying at a lower cap also allows you to practice managing your financial funds for the future at an easier pace. With a budget, it is easier to understand the monthly statements that will be sent your way. Things that may pop up in these statements include late fees, cash advance fees, annual fees, balance fees, and foreign transaction fees. If so, you know something is wrong or there is something that needs to be questioned. This is a critical factor in using your credit card responsibly. Your credit card activity will be reported to credit bureaus every month. Be aware of everything that is going on with your credit card and use your credit card with caution while you’re applying. It is the first step towards your financial future and future financial freedom. Now it is just a matter of starting the process.