Be Responsible With Your First Credit Card
Getting your first credit card can be exciting, but it also involves some responsibility. For many young adults, being approved for their first credit card is the best thing to happen since getting a drivers license or turning 18.
Having a credit card has benefits that include convenience and a step toward financial independence. This is a tool that can help you build credit, allowing you to borrow money at more favorable terms in the future.
But credit cards can also be dangerous when not used responsibly. Here are some essential steps to make the right moves with your first credit card.
1. Use Your Credit Wisely.
You will receive a credit limit with your card, and it's a good idea to avoid burning through your available credit. A common rule of thumb is to not spend more than 30 percent of your available credit. This means that you will need to think carefully before pulling out your credit card.
2. Pay Your Bill on Time.
Missing payment due dates can have several unfortunate consequences. Not only will you be hit with interest rate charges but also a late fee. Additionally, paying your bill late could impact your credit score.
3. Pay Your Entire Balance.
When you pay your credit card bill each month, it's best to pay the entire balance whenever possible. This can help you avoid costly interest charges. When you can't pay the entire balance, aim to pay more than the minimum monthly payment. This strategy can also save you a significant amount long term.
4. Keep Tabs on Your Credit.
One of the benefits of having a credit card is to build positive credit. This is something you should continuously monitor to ensure that lenders will get an accurate picture of your history. You can get a free credit report each year from the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) through annualcreditreport.com. Getting an estimation of your credit score will be an extra charge.
5. Monitor Your Account.
When you're using a credit card, it's relatively easy to lose track of how much you are spending. This can be dangerous. To avoid overspending, use your bank or credit card issuer's online access or app to keep close tabs on your monthly purchases. This can also help you make on-time payments online and quickly spot any potential trouble.
6. Protect Yourself from Fraud.
Fraud is an ongoing problem with credit cards, and your constant monitoring can help protect your account from malicious charges. Review your bank's terms to find out what to do if you become a victim of fraud or if your credit card is lost or stolen. Some common tips to keep your information safe include never giving out PINs online or over the phone and keeping your credit card in a secure location.A credit card may be a big responsibility, but there are also many benefits when it is used wisely. Rather than putting in several applications at once and possibly damaging your credit score, choose a local bank that you know and trust for this important service. Contact City Bank now to learn more about our personal banking services, including several feature-packed, low-APR credit cards.