As you begin your search for your first credit card, it’s easy to get lost in all the “bells and whistles” associated with the many offers you come across. To improve the likelihood of making the right choice, you must exercise patience as you compare offers.
Here are five questions you can answer to help you determine what to look for in your first credit card:
1. How do you plan on using the credit card?
This is the first question to answer. Your answer may change over time, but you should focus on the here and now. Do you plan to use your credit card for everyday purchases? Emergencies only? Big purchases? Travel?
There’s no right or wrong answer. As long as you know your answer, it’ll help you make the most of your search.
2. What is your credit score?
The higher your credit score, the easier it is to receive approval. However, since it’s your first credit card, there’s a good chance that you have an average score with not much history behind it.
Check your credit score before you apply for a credit card. This gives you an idea of where to spend your time.
3. Are you okay with the idea of applying for a secured credit card?
If you don’t qualify for an unsecured credit card, there’s nothing wrong with considering a secured credit card. Although it requires an upfront deposit that acts as a security deposit and credit limit, you gain access to many of the same benefits as an unsecured credit card. Furthermore, you’ll receive your deposit back as long as you close your account with a zero balance.
4. What features are most important to you?
Features vary from one credit card to the next, so make sure you have a list of what’s most important to you.
Are you searching for a credit card with the lowest interest rate? The best travel rewards program? No annual fee?
5. What are your thoughts on paying an annual fee?
If you’re open to paying an annual fee, make sure you get something of value in return. You want to feel that you’re still getting the best of the deal. Annual fees generally range from $100 to $500. The higher the fee, the more you can expect in return.
By answering the above questions, you can better formulate what you’re searching for in your first credit card. With your new knowledge, it’s time to begin your search. Compare offers, read reviews, and reach out to credit card companies with any questions. And then when you’re comfortable, apply for the card of your choice and wait for an approval.