How to Apply for a Credit Card for the First Time

Have you just finished schooling and got a sustainable job? Have you been using other banking services but never used a credit card? Whichever the case, first-time credit card applicants are always welcomed by most financial institutions to apply for credit cards. In this article, you will learn how to apply for a credit card for the first time. This will include the requirements as well as how you can use a credit card.

Credit cards are convenient when it comes to buying goods and services. Many shopping and service centers accept credit cards. These include supermarkets, grocery stores, and fueling stations among others. Recurrent services such as electricity bills, water, internet, and cable TV also accept credit card payments. You thus don’t need to carry large amounts of money with you as you risk being robbed or misplacing it.

Interestingly, various credit cards suit people with specific credit history. Both bad and good credit scores can guarantee you a credit card. Although people with bad credit scores find it difficult to get a credit card, there are financial institutions that have credit cards for bad credit with no deposit. However, bad credit cards with no deposit have low credit limits and high interest rates. Most don’t offer benefits such as cash backs and points.

Who can apply for a first-time credit card?

How to Apply for a Credit Card for the First Time

Anybody who has never used a credit card can apply for one irrespective of their social status. However, you must meet all the requirements before applying for a credit card. During the application for a credit card, you need to produce your Social Security number, your national ID, and passport size photo.

You will also need to provide other details such as phone number, email address, and place of residence. You may also have to disclose your physical address. Moreover, you are required to be 18 years and above. You should also have a reliable income either from formal employment or self-employment.

The first thing you do is apply for a checking account. You cannot get a credit card if you do not have a checking account. A checking account may be personal or for your business. Checking accounts for small business credit cards for bad credit require you to give more details about your business. You need to provide;

  • Your business’s legal name
  • Industry type
  • Contact information for your business
  • The business entity or legal structure
  • Federal tax ID
  • Time in business and number of employees
  • Legal name, contact information, and Social Security Number
  • Annual business revenue and estimated monthly spend
  • Total annual income
  • Personal guarantee

Furthermore, you should have done prior research on the available credit cards in your financial institution of choice.

How do you apply for a credit card for the first time?

It is obvious that as a first-time credit card applicant, you have no credit history. You, therefore, need to get the credit cards that require little or no credit history.

You can get a starter card. A starter card is merely a store card specific for a certain outlet. For example, you can get a Walmart credit card which means you may not use it anywhere else other than Walmart stores. A starter card has a lower credit limit but is essential to help you build up your credit scores to apply for any of the credit cards for fair credit with high limits in the future.

Secondly, you can apply for a secured credit card. Secured credit cards do not need you to have a credit history. Before getting the card, you have to deposit some amount of money to act as security for the borrowed amount. The card is specifically meant to help you gain credit scores that can allow you to apply for an unsecured credit card.

Most financial institutions allow you to apply online on their websites where you fill all the necessary details and upload the required documents. Once you submit, processing begins and then a message is sent to your phone or email to alert you whether you succeeded or not. Successful applicants can get their cards at their post office box.

Can I get a credit card if I am unemployed?

Yes. There are some special cases like children and students who are not yet working. As a student, you have to include evidence to show that you receive some income. Include forms to show whichever is applicable among the following.

  • Government benefits
  • Student loans
  • Alimony
  • Investments
  • Your spouse’s income in case you will use it to pay the bills

Children can also get credit cards but under their parents and guardians. The parent or guardian is liable for the debt payment of the child’s credit card. That means either the guardian or parent must be eligible for the credit card. Financial institutions can also give credit cards to children if there is evidence of a child support program.

How do I choose the best credit card?

Even though various financial institutions have guaranteed approval credit cards for bad credit or no credit at all, it is wise to study various features of the available credit cards so that you do not end up picking the wrong card. The following things are important to consider.

i) A starter card or a secured card

If you are not ready to deposit money in your account to act as security, you can get a starter card and use it in the designated store. Again, getting a secured card will work well if you have enough money to deposit for security.

ii) Card fees

There are various fees associated with credit cards. These include monthly fees, annual fees, transaction fees, and even withdrawal fees. Check the available cards and see the one with fewer fees. Some cards do not charge annual fees.

iii) Rewards

Some card issuers offer rewards to their customers. If you find a credit card with rewards, get it as long as all other terms are friendly.

What next if I get a credit card?

The first step is to activate the card. You can visit the bank’s website online and activate the card. Alternatively, you can call the number provided and the available customer care will help you activate it.

Upon activating the card, set up online access. It will help you manage your account conveniently. Some banks have developed apps to help operate your account easily. An online account will help you pay for goods and services online or send money to others.

Also, remember to set up notifications about due dates for bill payment dates, new offers, and security alerts. Once you have done all that, you can begin using your credit card.

How will a credit card help me?

The fact that you are a first-time applicant indicates that you may not know how a credit card will help you once you get it. There are various ways a credit card can help you in your financial transformation.

First, a credit card will help you to build your credit history. A good credit history means good credit scores. With high scores, you can get high credit limits and loans.

Moreover, with a credit card, you can transfer money using the routing number and account number to someone else of a different bank or send money to someone else of the same bank using just their account number. Sending money using a credit card is easy as you need to log in online using a smartphone or tablet and initiate the process.

In addition, you will be able to buy goods and services using the card. It is convenient since you do not need cash. You can buy online or at the physical stores that accept the card. If you need cash, you can withdraw money at ATM points and use it for shopping or any other need.

Which are the best credit cards for first-time applicants?

The following are some of the cards that can suit you as a first-time applicant. Have a look.

1) Discover Student Chrome

The card has no annual fees. It can earn you 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.  Also, you can earn unlimited 1% cash back on all other purchases you make with the card. Learn more.

2) Capital One Journey® Student Rewards

The card is for full-time students. It has neither annual fee nor foreign transaction fees. With the card, you can earn 1% cash back on all purchases, and 1.25% when you make your payments on time. Learn more.

3) BankAmericard Travel Rewards® for Students

The card charges $0 annual fees. With the card, you can earn unlimited 1.5 points for every $1 you spend on all purchases everywhere and no expiration on the points. Learn more

4) Discover it® Cash Back

The card charges zero annual fees. Also, earn 5% cash back on everyday purchase you make at different places each quarter such as grocery stores, restaurants, gas stations, and when you pay using PayPal, up to the quarterly maximum. Again, you will automatically earn 1% unlimited cash back on all other purchases. Learn more.

Bottom line

When applying for a credit card for the first time, it is difficult to get a high limit credit card. You have to start with either starter cards for particular stores or secured credit cards. Once you gain good credit scores, you can get a better card. It is important to check the card features when applying for the first time to avoid expensive cards. You can easily apply for a credit card online.