Guide to Getting a Credit Card: When Can You Get a Credit Card?
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At What Age Can I Get a Credit Card?
How to Know If You're Ready for a Credit Card
You have enough income: If you’re looking to get a credit card on your own, you’ll need to prove to credit card issuers you have a steady income source. Be honest and see whether you make enough to apply for one. Even a part-job may suffice, though check the fine print before applying. You know how credit cards work: Part of being responsible with credit is understanding how it works and having a grasp on credit card terms. There are plenty of free educational resources out there that can show you the basics of credit and credit cards. Learn what it means to make purchases, and understand your responsibility when it comes to making payments. You’re organized: Are you someone who can juggle multiple school deadlines and hand in work on time? If so, you’re most likely someone who can handle making on-time credit card payments. You’re not easily tempted by impulse purchases: It can be easy to be swayed by shiny objects and rack up a huge balance on your credit card, only to find out you can afford it. If you can walk away from buying items you don’t need, then you might be ready for a credit card. You know how to manage money responsibly: Perhaps you’ve started budgeting your allowance or your paycheck successfully. If you’re in the habit of spending below your means — rather than going overboard — you’re most likely ready to handle the responsibility of a credit card. You have some savings: Though technically not required, having savings is useful so you won’t end up relying on a credit card in a pinch. Doing so could cause you to fall into debt. By having some savings, you can use that money instead if you’re falling short one month, or an unexpected expense arises.
Signs You're Not Ready for a Credit Card
You don’t have reliable income: Getting a summer job but not working during the school year, for instance, may not be enough to convince card issuers to give you your own credit card. You’ve never created a budget: If you don’t know how to manage money at all, getting a credit card won’t help you in that regard. It’s best to get a handle on the basics before opening a credit card account. You frequently overdraft your accounts: If you’re consistently going over your bank account balance, it’s a sign that you’re likely to overspend with your credit card as well and dig yourself into unnecessary debt. You make a lot of impulse purchases: If you can’t control temptation, having a credit card could mean you’ll spend more than you make. You don’t understand why you can’t spend up to the credit limit: Just because you have a certain limit doesn’t mean you should max out your cards. This could be another sign that you don't understand how to be responsible with a credit card.
What Should I Look for When Getting a Credit Card?
Ways to Get a Credit Card As…
Becoming an authorized user: You can ask a trusted relative or your parents to become an authorized user on their credit card. There are risks for the primary cardholder, so make sure you’ll be responsible with the card. Applying with a cosigner: Another option is to ask another person to back up your credit card application using their income and credit history. Just keep in mind that this could affect their credit history if you’re not responsible. Signing up for a student credit card: There are cards designed for students, though they tend to have lower credit limits. Still, it can be a good way to build your credit. Getting a secured credit card: Secured credit cards tend to be easier to qualify for because you need to put down a deposit, which you should be able to get back once you upgrade to an unsecured card. Consider an unsecured credit card for fair credit: Not all unsecured credit cards require secured credit. If you’re still working to build your score, you might consider credit cards for fair credit.
Are There Credit Cards to Help You Build Credit?
Should You Get a Credit Card to Finance Large Purchases?
Can You Use Credit Cards to Pay Off Debt?
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