Getting a credit card is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make upon reaching adulthood. Although it’s not necessarily a requirement, having a credit card can be beneficial in some situations. However, you should remember that credit cards are not for everyone. Whether you are a first-time user or an existing credit card holder, here are the questions you need to ask yourself before making up your mind about getting a new plastic card.
Are You Ready?
Getting your first card is not all about reaching the legal age of 18. If you are under 21 years old and don’t earn substantial income on your own, you may be required to have a cosigner. Furthermore, being eligible is different from being mature enough. Having a credit card entails a huge responsibility, so even if you’re at the legal age and you have a job, it doesn’t mean that you are ready to have a credit card.
Can You Afford it?
It’s not just enough to be earning a steady source of income, but you need to be able to meet the credit card repayments. Moreover, you have to afford the repayments without struggling on your basic necessities, because a simple out-of-budget expense can make you miss your due dates and leave you with revolving interests. This is why your credit card issuer will not only inquire about your salary during your application, but also about your other financial obligations such as the mortgage or rent.
Do You Already Have the Credit Cards that You Need?
The number of credit card that you should have varies from person to person, so it’s hard to assign a specific number. There are those who can handle multiple cards while some are struggling with one card. If you have existing credit cards now, assess yourself if you are capable of handling one more.
Have You Learned from Past Credit Mistakes?
If you just recently went overboard on your debts, chances are you’ll encounter the same problem again. Getting a new credit card must be given careful thought. Not only will it be tough to qualify for a new one because of your past payment problems, but you sure don’t want to watch history repeating itself. Before you do apply for a new one, make sure you have realized the root of the problem and you have done all efforts to correct it, otherwise getting a new card should be postponed for at least a few months.
However, if you feel confident that you’re ready to try again, you can test drive for about three to six months and evaluate your performance monthly. If you’ve become responsible on your purchases and have paid your balances timely, then it’s probably okay to start again.
What are the credit card terms?
The best cards are those with the lowest interest rates, no annual fees, or best rewards. If you’re looking at a particular card, make sure you compare it with others in the same category. In addition, some rewards cards can be expensive or have certain requirements, so be sure to read the credit card disclosure very carefully.