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TransitAngst View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: First Credit Card
    Posted: Feb 06 2008 at 1:18pm
I'm thinking about getting my first credit card. I'm totally fine with my debit card but I guess it's time to build some credit that I can rely on after I graduate. I'm a pretty responsible with my spending...I re-calculate my balance after making purchases and I know all of my bank's little tricks.
But I don't know anything about credit cards. Are the ones without annual fees really free? If I don't use it at all will I have to pay anything? APR? If I spend $200 in a month, will I be billed for just $200 or will I pay anything extra?
If any of you could help me out or guide me to some good websites, please let me know! Also if any students or first-time users have a good card to recommend, please share!
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ASUbrat View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 07 2008 at 6:08pm
Smart to ask questions before you jump into one! You are already doing better then 1/2 the population that are in credit card debt.LOL
 
I think everyone should have a credit card. Does not matter how much money you make, if you don't have credit people don't care. Credit is weird, the more you have the more people want to give you. I have over 557K in unused credit card limits. I kid you not...you would think that would be a red flag for most banks, but no...I get 30K credit card offers all the time. It is scary. I was told once that the best time to apply for credit is when you don't need it. So I keep all of this unused credit...just in case. Here is some advice that helped me:
 
1. Make your first charge, then pay in full or pay above the minimum payment (at least $5 over).
 
2. Don't keep your credit card with you. (I leave mine in a safe place at home and forget about them.) I just pull them out once every few months to make a charge and pay it off in full.
 
3. If your credit gets really good (700-850 fico) you can apply for AMEX 0% blue card w/ 5% cash back. I love this card. It is the only card in my wallet and I use it everyday for everything. Bills, mortgage, groceries, etc. We pay it off every month in full. The great thing about this card is there is no interest and in fact, AMEX pays us! We earn $2000-$5000 per year on this card. (HARD CASH) Amex sends us a check every year. It is safer then a debit card because all of your purchases are protected. If you have ever had a dispute with your debit card, it is a pain!
 
 
To answer your questions:
Yes, if they have no annual fee then you don't pay to have the card. If you don't use it, nothing to pay. APR is only paid on purchases that you carry a balance on. Meaning if you charge something, then pay it off in full when you get your bill...you will not have to pay APR charges. (Double check to make sure that the credit card has a 30 day grace period, most do, but I know one or two that don't).
 
If you charge $200, you will get a bill for a minimum payment. If you pay in full, not APR, if you just pay the minimum payment, then you will be charged a finance charge (APR).
 
A great website for credit talk and credit cards is:
 
www.creditboards.com
 
Have fun!
 
 


Edited by ASUbrat - Feb 08 2008 at 9:44pm
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acolyte View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 07 2008 at 9:31pm
Nice advice ASUBRAT

A long time back I used to work in the credit card industry and I too can toss you a few tips. Unless it is a secured card or you have bad credit you dont have to pay annual fees. There are companies out there that will give you a credit card without annual fees as a first one. My first credit card had no annual fees.

When you get an offer you want to turn it to the back and see what all the associated fees and interest rates are. They will always splash the low promotional rate on the front knowing people will ignore that only to have in the terms and conditions the true fees and interest rate after the promotional period.

Try to avoid carry balances from billing cycle to billing cycle. When you do that you end up paying interest. Use the same amount you would have if you had cash in hand.

Never miss payments, it looks bad on your credit record. And always pay more than the minimum due.

Try not to max your cards in fact the best situation would be only to get to half of your credit limit.

Never use your credit card at an atm, the interest rates are murder for cash transactions.

Im sure you already know some of the things I have shared but you would be amazed how many people forget the basics and end up suffering later.
AMEX is hard to qualify for as a first timer, I used capitalone for my first card and I cant complain one bit.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 07 2008 at 9:55pm
Thanks for the info, you guys. I'm a little more confident in getting one now. What I plan to do is use it for things here and there, where I'd typically use my debit card, take that money out of my checking account, and set it aside to pay off the bills in full. I know a lot of people my age think that a credit card means extra money, but it doesn't.
I think I'm going to apply for the student credit card that my bank offers, just to start small. It's a Visa like my debit card. Then I'll try and get that AMEX card you mentioned, ASUbrat. Sounds really good. Though, I doubt I'd make close to $2,000, hahaha. My goal is to spend only small amounts.
One more question, how do I check my credit? I know there are a lot of sites claiming to offer free credit reports but then they go ahead and ask for your billing info. I don't think I should have to pay to know what my credit score is...

Edited by TransitAngst - Feb 07 2008 at 10:07pm
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 08 2008 at 9:43pm
Sorry, I gave you the wrong credit board site. It is www.creditboards.com
 
Here is where you can get a free copy of your credit report...
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 18 2008 at 2:17pm
Sorry TransitAngst, (I wonder where this name came from!), though the report is free, you would have to shell out a few bucks to see your SCORE. I never understood the logic. To avoid paying for my score, I signed up for one of those Free credit report 2 week trial period, got my score and then cancelled before the 2 weeks was up! Good luck. ALways so nice to see young ones exercising caution and wisdom. You are on the right path!

https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index

Edited by mitch77 - Feb 18 2008 at 2:18pm
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 18 2008 at 7:56pm
Originally posted by mitch77 mitch77 wrote:

Sorry TransitAngst, (I wonder where this name came from!), though the report is free, you would have to shell out a few bucks to see your SCORE. I never understood the logic. To avoid paying for my score, I signed up for one of those Free credit report 2 week trial period, got my score and then cancelled before the 2 weeks was up! Good luck. ALways so nice to see young ones exercising caution and wisdom. You are on the right path!

https://www.annualcreditreport.com/cra/index


Thanks for the tip!
My username is actually the name of a song in a video game that I really liked. I know, totally lame. But the name was awesome so I used it!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 19 2008 at 6:10pm
by way of digressing: Love, love love the name: Transit Angst!
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Feb 22 2008 at 2:29pm
www.creditboards.com
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 18 2008 at 8:22pm
Check out www.fatwallet.com this is another good site for not only credit cards, but other other financial accounts.
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