As you have landed on this page, you should surely be planning to buy your first credit card. Great! Now, this may sound weird, but we have a question for you here - are you really ready for it?
If you don't have an instant answer to this, maybe you need more time to analyze. However, if you are looking for a way to determine whether you are cready (credit-ready) or not, then let us make it easy for you. mymoneykarma has lined up a comprehensive list of rules here, following which can help you determine and even boost your credit-readiness:
You need to have a steady flow of income for at least one year before applying for a credit card.
Since the time you start earning, lenders will be ready to offer you a credit card, but it’s best you don’t buy it at this time.
Warning: You could fall into a terrible debt trap.
Wondering, how? Let's picture a situation:
You make costly purchases through your credit card. Come month-end, you can't even pay the minimum due because you don't have enough money in your account. You don’t have a source of income, after all. Such irresponsible behavior will lead to default in payments, impacting your new credit negatively.
Also, the lender will inform this activity to the credit bureaus, who will put a negative remark on your credit report. Your report will serve as a red signal to creditors in the future, for at least seven years. Given this situation continues unmitigatedly, you would find yourself trapped inside a vicious loop of debt and bad credit.
However, you can easily save yourself from said loop by not buying a credit card until you have job security and a surplus of income in your account.
An emergency fund ensures that the flow of bill payments won't break during times when you become a victim of unforeseen circumstances - losing a job, medical treatments, etc.
If you are a student who wants a card to build a credit history, keeping a particular sum in your account would also be mandatory to meet eligibility.
If you are new to budgeting, you can practice it for a month using expense manager apps. In case your savings remain negative, then rework on it by simply decreasing the expenses for the next month. When your savings graph eventually starts going upward, that's when you can say that you know how to budget.
The crux - using a credit card to manage your monthly expenses can help you in savings. However, paying bills on time and keeping credit utilization low is the secret to keeping it sustainable.
Being a newbie, it's always better to familiarize yourself with the methods of building credit. If you comprehend the factors that can affect your credit score, you would forever remain careful.
Debit cards are similar to credit cards; the only difference is money debited from your savings account. Hence, The worst that could happen is that you run out of money and remain broke for a while, as opposed to the possibility of deep debt that comes with credit cards.
Hence, if you can manage your monthly expenses through a debit card without having your transactions declined, it could very well indicate that you are creditworthy. If not, start out with a secured credit card.
If you are already adhering to all the rules mentioned above, see it as a green signal that you can go ahead with your plan of buying your first credit card.
Nevertheless, once you start using a card, keep checking your credit score at regular intervals to prevent any mishappenings in the future.
Have a happy credit life!