Getting your first credit card is not easy. After all, you have to choose from hundreds of credit cards that are available in the market along with numerous terrifying stories about them. If used right, credit cards are powerful financial tools that help you build a strong credit history that can benefit you in many ways. If you are also applying for a credit card for the first time, here is the list of points you need to remember.
1. Types of Credit Card
Knowing the difference between credit cards is a very important factor. For example, if you are new and have a low income, you can opt for a beginner-level card that comes with a low annual fee.
2. Your Income
Before issuing you a credit card, the bank will always ask for your income information to check whether you have the repayment capacity or not. Your income plays a vital role when you apply for a credit card. Your statements show that you are able to pay your credit card dues on time. The limit on your card eventually increases with the increase in your income.
3. Start with the low credit limit
Always start with a low credit limit. This puts you at less risk because, for some reason you are not able to make timely payments, since the amount you borrowed is less, you will not face major issues in making repayments. Once you get accustomed to managing your credit cards, the bank will provide you with the option to increase your credit limit. Also, the credit limit is linked to your income, so if you fall under the low-income bracket, your credit card will be limited by your earnings.
4. Understanding terms and conditions
It is really important for you to understand the terms and conditions before you select and apply for a credit card. These documents contain information that you are going to agree to when you use the card. Do read them carefully, check all the applicable fees, reward system, and other significant details.
5. How does interest apply?
If you repay your credit card timely and in full, the bank will not charge any interest. But if you carry the balance forward to the next month, you will be charged interest on the balance according to the annual percentage rate.
6. Grace period
A grace period is a time given by the bank to the issuer to make the payment without charging any interest. If you the new balance in full before the due date, you won’t be charged any interest or late payment fee. The grace period starts from the end of your next billing cycle to the next due date.
7. Fees and Charges
As a first-time user, it is important for you to educate yourself regarding all the fees and charges related to a credit card. The points you need to focus on are joining fee, annual fee, transfer, foreign exchange fee, finance charges, cash advance, over-limit fee, and more. For example, if you are applying for Citibank Credit Card Apply Online, you can visit their website to check all the fees and charges. This protects you from any unknown charges that might burden you in the future.
8. Penalty on late payment
Also, know about the fee and late payment charges while applying for a credit card. In case you make a late payment, you will incur extra charges and the creditor can report this late payment to the credit bureaus, which can negatively affect your credit score.
9. Balancing your credit utilization
It is very important for you to keep a track of how much you are spending using your credit card. The credit utilization ratio can also affect your overall credit score even if you are making timely repayments. So, it is very important for you to maintain the balance and keep your expenditure in check while using a credit card.
10. Maintaining your credit score
The credit card has a direct impact on your credit score as it defines your financial management and decisions. If you overcharge your credit card by spending more than the allotted credit limit or if you miss your payments, the credit card can have a negative impact on your credit score. This can affect your financial credibility in the long term.
Applying for your first credit card is a huge achievement but on the other hand, it contains many risks if not used properly. You must educate yourself about all the terms and conditions, understand every fee and charge before you even apply for a credit card.
I hope this piece of information has helped you in making the final decision.