How to Get a Credit Card for the First Time

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How to Get a Credit Card for the First Time

Ready to join the plastic revolution? Getting your first credit card is like unlocking a new level in the game of adulting. It’s exciting, empowering, and yes, a little daunting. But don’t sweat it! Whether you’re a college student, young professional, or just fashionably late to the credit party, we’ve got your back.

In this guide to how to get a credit card for the first time, we’re walking you through the credit card maze – breaking down each step one-by-one!

MoneyLion can help you explore a wide variety of credit card options tailored to different needs and preferences.

Steps to get a credit card for the first time

If you have little or no financial background, you may not have as many credit card options available as individuals with a solid financial background. 

Below are the steps to help increase your chances of getting approved for your first credit card.

1. Check your credit score

As a first-time credit card applicant, you may not have a solid financial background to build your credit score. But checking your current score can still help you understand your current financial standing and the type of credit card you may qualify for.

You’re entitled to a free copy of your credit report once a year from Checking your credit report regularly is a smart habit to develop, especially when you’re just starting your credit journey or preparing to apply for your first credit card.

2. Research credit cards and compare offers

Background research on different credit cards can help you choose a product that suits your needs and financial situation. When comparing credit cards, pay attention to the interest rate, credit limit, and cash offers or rewards programs. These factors can have a significant impact on the cost of your credit card.

3. Consider a secured credit card

Credit cards fall into two broad categories: secured and unsecured. Secured credit cards require a security deposit upfront, which is used as collateral in case you default on your payments. 

Unsecured credit cards, on the other hand, do not require a deposit but are based solely on your creditworthiness. Because secured credit cards are backed by a deposit, they tend to have more favorable terms. They are also easier to qualify for, especially if you don’t have a solid financial history.

4. Consider getting a co-signer

Applying for a credit card with a co-signer can reassure credit card issuers that the debt will be repaid even if you’re unable to pay it back yourself. A co-signer is someone who agrees to take on financial responsibility for your credit card if you’re unable to make payments. A person must have a good credit score and steady income to qualify as a co-signer.

5. Apply for the credit card

Most credit card issuers provide several options for applying, including online, by mail, or over the phone. Because this is your first time applying for a credit card, make sure you have all the necessary documentation. 

You should also fill out all required fields accurately and truthfully. Incomplete or incorrect information can lead to delays in processing your application or even rejection.

6. Wait for an approval 

Some companies provide instant approval, while others may take a few days or even weeks to review your application. If your application is approved, congratulations! You can now enjoy all the perks and benefits that come with having a credit card. But if the application wasn’t successful, you can take steps to build your credit before applying for another credit card. 

One option is to join the MoneyLion WOW membership and get access to apply for a credit-builder loan, which can help you establish credit and improve your credit score over time. 

Understand the basics of responsible credit card use

Credit cards have many financial benefits, but when misused, they can quickly become a financial burden. These are steps to help you get the most out of your first credit card.

Set a monthly budget

Once you get a credit card, it can be tempting to overspend on unnecessary expenses. Creating a budget can help you keep track of your expenses and prevent you from getting into a cycle of debt.

Pay your credit card balance on time

Credit card companies often charge high-interest rates on unpaid balances. Paying your balance on time can help you avoid these fees and keep your debt under control.

Pay off your balance in full

Usually, credit card balances attract extra interest charges. You need to pay your balances in full and on time every month to avoid these fees. Paying balances in full also demonstrates to creditors that you can manage your finances effectively.

Set up automatic payments 

Setting up automatic payments can help ensure your payment is made on time each month. This can also help you avoid interest charges on any balance remaining after the due date.

Avoid going over your credit limit

Exceeding your credit limit can result in a penalty interest rate, which can be significantly higher than your regular interest rate.

Monitor your credit score regularly

Always monitor your credit score to ensure that the information is accurate and up to date. This is because errors on your credit report can negatively affect your credit score, which can impact your ability to obtain credit in the future.

Secure Your Financial Future With Responsible Credit Card Usage

Credit cards are useful financial tools that offer us a great deal of convenience and flexibility. With proper management, they can help us build credit, earn rewards, and handle emergencies. 

But you need to use them responsibly in order to avoid falling into debt and damaging your credit score. The key? It comes all down to budgeting and money management. 


What do I need to get a credit card for the first time?

What you need to get a credit card for the first time may vary depending on the credit card issuer. The most common requirements include your personal details, employment details, income status, and financial history.

What is a good credit score to get a credit card?

A good credit score to get a credit card varies depending on the credit card issuer and the type of credit card you are applying for. In general, having a higher credit score will increase your chances of being approved for a credit card with better terms.

What happens if I don’t pay my credit card bill on time?

If you don’t pay your credit card bill on time, late fees and other charges may apply. In extreme cases, credit card issuers may take legal action to collect the debt, which can result in wage garnishment or a lien on your property.

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