WHERE TO START
We get it! When you apply for your first credit card, you may not have a long-standing credit history. That’s not a bad thing. It just means you’re financially young and new to the credit world! Everyone has to start somewhere, and we’re here to help.
WHY TIME IS YOUR FRIEND
That’s the key secret to credit scores: TIME. It’s not how much money you make or how much you spend that influences your credit score. It’s consistent over the long haul. So, your first credit card should help build good credit, and you should keep it for years to come. Remember, the longer you have a good credit line (like your first credit card), the better it will reflect in your credit score!
TOP 5 THINGS
Do you think a credit card could be the next step in your financial journey? If so, congrats! Taking this next step is exciting!
But before you say, “Sign me up!” there are a few more things to consider. After all, if you’re getting a credit card, we want to make sure it’s the right card for you! So, here are five things to look for when picking your first credit card:
- No set-up, maintenance, or annual fee. Your first card is one you want to keep open for a long time. (Remember, the longer you have a credit line, the more it helps establish your credit!) Therefore, it’s important to look for one with a minimum annual cost. So for a first card, look for one without an annual fee! Really, your wallet will thank you for it.
- A well-known brand. The name on your credit card does matter since not every merchant accepts every type of card. Visa® and Mastercard® are the most popular cards and are accepted at most places. This doesn’t mean you have to go with one of those options, but it might be a good idea to check if there are any usage restrictions if you go with another brand.
- Perks & Incentives. Different cards have different rewards systems. Be sure to pick the one you’ll get the most use out of, whether that’s cash back, gift cards, or miles. Also, pay attention to what categories allow you to earn these rewards. Is it on a tiered scale? What types of purchases qualify? Are reward categories locked in, or do they rotate? These are all good questions to ask yourself to determine which card is the best fit for you.
- Low-Interest Rate. Credit cards are known to have high rates and typically average between 15-30%. This means you could pay a lot in interest if you’re not careful. So look for special introductory offers that provide reduced interest rates, but don’t forget to pay attention to what the regular interest rate is after the introductory period.
- Security Features. Will your credit card have a chip? Does the company offer anti-theft protection options? Some providers even have a nifty “on/off” feature that allows you to automatically turn your credit card on or off whenever you want. So be sure to check out what security features, such as fraud and identity theft protection, are offered with your card.
Credit cards have the potential to do a lot of good and help you out in significant ways! Since you now know what to look for, go comparison shop!
Knoxville TVA Employees Credit Union Visa® Credit Cards have no annual fee, offer rewards redeemable for cash, and have a fixed interest rate (instead of a variable interest rate that is more prone to fluctuating). We also offer Control My Card by KTVAECU®, an app that allows you to easily monitor spending and turn your card on or off with ease. It works by sending text notifications whenever your card is used. So if you receive a text and know you didn’t use your card, log in and turn your card off. Features like these are great to look for when deciding what type of credit card to open.