When it comes to credit cards, there are often a lot of unanswered questions. Potential first-time credit cardholders often wonder how their card is going to work, if they will go into debt with their card, how it differs from a debit card, and more. Identify what some of your unanswered questions are and keep reading. Below are the answers to 7 commonly asked credit card questions.
1. What is a credit card?
A credit card is a form of payment that allows you to make purchases using borrowed money, known as a line of credit, from a credit card issuer. There are often some costs associated, such as paying interest. A credit card can be a great tool when you’re between paychecks and need to make a purchase.
A credit card is also a great method to start building your credit. A credit score and credit history can be important when it comes to buying a home, car, or education. Make sure to use your credit card responsibly in order to positively impact your credit.
2. How is a credit card different from a debit card?
Debit cards and credit cards are similar in some ways. They are both used for making purchases. The main difference is that a debit card takes money from your checking account, which holds funds that you already have. A credit card uses money that you are borrowing from a credit card issuer. This allows you to make purchases even if you do not have the funds yourself. You are expected to pay back a portion of the amount borrowed at the end of the month or your due date.
For first-time credit cardholders, it’s essential to understand your credit limit. A credit limit is the maximum amount that can be charged to the card account each month. Debit cards do not have a purchasing limit unless you decide to set one.
3. Why should I get a credit card?
There are many reasons why a student should get a credit card. It can help you learn good credit habits, offer a sense of security, provide support in emergencies, teach budgeting skills, and more. As a young adult, credit cards, if used responsibly, can help build a strong credit history and credit score. This is extremely helpful when it comes to applying for car loans, mortgages, and other financial tools needed later in life.
4. Will a credit card cause me to go into debt?
Whether or not a credit card will cause you to go into debt depends on your spending habits and your ability to pay the total amount due each month. Getting a credit card will not automatically cause you to go into debt. However, poor spending habits and not paying off your balance can cause you to accumulate credit card debt.
A credit card is very similar to a short-term loan, meaning that you have to pay off that loan within a certain amount of time to avoid charged interest. If you pay off your credit card balance in full at the end of the billing cycle, no interest will be added. To avoid debt, pay off your bill as soon as you can, and avoid spending more than you can afford.
5. Can I get a credit card if I have no credit history?
If you have never had a loan or financial account in your own name, you may not have a credit score yet. While having a strong credit history is important, it is not always required, especially for credit card companies that cater to first-time cardholders. If you are not in college and do not qualify for a student credit card, consider applying for a secured credit card.
6. How old do you have to be to get a credit card?
To open a credit card account in your own name, you must be at least 18 years old (or, if you live in Alabama or Nebraska, you must be at least 19 years old). Applying for a credit card at a young age means that you need to have independent income in order to afford paying your bill. Your income can come from various places. It’s most common for students to have a part-time job, work study, or side hustle to cover the costs of their purchases.
Just make sure that your income can support having a credit card and paying it off each month. You should also take into consideration other expenses such as rent and utilities that you’re responsible for. If at the end of the month you don’t have enough to pay off your balance, you’ll need to adjust your budget to spend less each month.
7. How do I apply for a credit card?
If you’re considering applying for a credit card, begin by researching different options to determine which would be best suited for you. Select a card that will meet your needs, and make sure to have all your information ready to fill out the application. You will need to know your social security number and all of your contact information. If you need any help filling out your application, don’t hesitate to ask for help from a parent or trusted adult who has been through the process before.
Depending on the card issuer and the information that was provided, you could either be approved or denied immediately. If not, the issuer will review your application and provide a timeline of when you can expect a response.
Before filling out an application, make sure you are ready for the responsibility. Take our quiz to see if you should get a credit card in college.
Having a credit card comes with a lot of responsibility. Before using your card, be sure to identify what you should and shouldn’t buy with your card. Make the most of your experience by paying your bill on time, watching your spending, and making smart purchases. This will help you to stay out of debt, save money, and build good credit.