Having your own credit card comes with many benefits. Many people view it as a financial responsibility, which can be a burden for anyone who is still earning their income from a 9-5 job. However, being able to use your credit card for emergencies or any other purchases is better than having to borrow money from others.
Decide how much you can pay each month.
It's important to make paying your credit card bill a priority — and the easiest way to do that is to decide exactly how much you can afford to put toward it before you even get your card.
That may sound counter-intuitive, but it's important because credit cards don't work like other loans. Unlike a car payment or mortgage, where you know exactly what you'll owe on a specific date each month, your credit card balance changes every time you use the card. It's up to you to keep track of it (and pay it) on your own.
So figure out how much you can pay each month. Say your answer is $250, and don't charge more than that amount unless you're sure you can pay off the balance in full when it comes due.
Check your credit score.
Check your credit score. You can get your current credit score from a variety of companies, including many credit card issuers, banks, and credit reporting bureaus. Why check the score? The better your credit history, the more likely you'll be approved for a good card. If you haven't been using credit for very long, or if you're recovering from some problems in the past, you might need to start with a secured card — one that requires a deposit as collateral. Secured cards report to the major credit bureaus just like regular revolving accounts do and can be used to build or rebuild good credit history.
Compare credit cards and choose the one that best fits your lifestyle.
You can compare different credit cards by looking at their annual fees and rewards. List down your needs. Do you shop a lot, travel overseas, or dine out regularly? Your needs will determine the type of card you choose. Each card offers its own unique set of benefits. If you're looking to make a big purchase or manage debt, you might want to compare low-interest credit cards. If your goal is to earn rewards for your spending, then compare reward credit cards.
Apply for a credit card.
If you see an offer that looks good, apply online or call the issuer directly. You can also apply in person at any bank branch. Be prepared to present your: proof of income, proof of identity (driver's license/state-issued ID), social security number. You can get a response as fast as within 15-20 minutes. Sometimes, the process may span over several days.
Manage your credit account wisely.
Effective card management will help you build better credit, which will enable you to borrow more money in the future at lower interest rates. Pay your bill on time every month, avoid maxing out your limit. Try to keep your debt below 30% of your total available credit limit.