In a lot of ways, a person’s first credit card is a lot like a first weapon. If you don’t know how to handle it, the blade, or in the case of the card, debt, can slice you deep if you don’t know how to handle it. But before you even worry about that, the big question is: “How do I even get my first credit card?”The first card is like that job you want but can’t get because you have no experience. Asking bankers at multiple institutions, a major reason that their youngest applicants don’t get approved is “lack of credit experience.” But how can you get experience when no one will give you credit?
It may feel frustrating at first, but there are actually multiple ways:
- You can get a store card. Victoria’s Secret loves to give their cards out, as does Banana Republic.
- You can apply for a secured card at an institution that offers them, Capitol One and Wells Fargo both offer these.
- You can get added as an authorized user to someone with good credit.
Each has their advantages and drawbacks.
The store card: It’s fairly easy to get approved if you have limited to no credit experience. The drawback is that you will have to spend money so it can report to the credit bureau, and where you can spend money is very limited. It’s best to pick a store that you can buy little things at frequent times so as to keep the month to month activity. You will need to keep this card active for six months at least.
The secured card: You can apply at creditcards(dot)com, which makes it convenient, or stop into a Wells Fargo Branch. It will require a minimum deposit, usually no less than $300, which you recover when you close the card. There are usually annual fees associated with these cards, but if you are responsible and can get approved after six to nine months on a no-fee card, you’ll only have to pay it once.
Added as an authorized user: This is the quickest way to get your credit score up. It requires no effort at all on your part and you don’t even have to spend any money. The original user will probably like it if you don’t, even though a card is issued in your name. The only drawback is that once the person takes you off as an authorized user, you have a small window to get approved for a card of your own.
So there you have it, and there are likely a few other options, but they are special case by case scenarios, and just remember, if you are a male asking for Victoria’s Secret store card, you might get some looks, but you’ll certainly have an opportunity to make your girlfriend very happy.