Should I Get a Credit Card: Things You Should Know
Many of us are asking ourselves, “Should I get a credit card?” Maybe you’re in college and having a rough time with money. You keep getting these letters in the mail that you’re pre-approved for this card. It’s tempting, but at the same time, you don’t really know too much about credit cards. In this article, we will give you information that is vital about credit cards and how to use them. A credit card debt can be very useful, but you must know how to use it.
Should I Get a Credit Card – Credit Card by Definition
Credit cards may look like your debit card; however, they are not the same. How Credit cards work are basically taking a loan out on something that you want to purchase. You do not have the money at the time, but you would like to buy an item. There may be interest that you have to pay once your loan payment is due. There are about 30 days that you have to pay this loan off. This is called a grace period. This is the time before your payment is due. Paying the whole balance when it is due, normally means that you pay zero interest rate on your purchase. If less than the entire balance is paid, you’ll pay interest. Your interest accrues interest charges on your average daily balance.
Should I Get a Credit Card – Do I Need a Credit Card?
No one truly needs a credit card bill; however, they do bring some benefits to you. If you use them wisely, they can help build your credit card account, which in turn helps your credit score. If you have good credit, you’ll find it easier to get a loan, or even buy a home at a later time. You can get approved for phone services, apartments, rentals, etc.
Several credit cards can give you cash back or travel rewards. The rewards are based on how much you spend. It is usually about 1-2% of the amount that you spend. Some cards offer a sign on bonus where you can earn hundreds of dollars by getting a certain student card.
Should I Get a Credit Card-Secured vs. Unsecured
Secured credit cards are cards that are backed by a cash deposit, normally the card has a credit limit of how much money you deposit on it. The deposit is your collateral and secures what you will pay on the credit card. These are good cards if you are trying to build your credit up due to having no credit history, or for those who have bad credit and want to fix it.
Unsecured credit cards are not backed up by a cash deposit, or any type of collateral. With these cards, you get a credit limit that is typically very low. This limit is based on your income and credit history. Sometimes, you can add an authorized user which can help you improve the credit limit based on their income as well.
Should I Get a Credit Card – How Credit Cards Affect Your Credit Score?
Credit cards can affect your credit score in many ways. The factors that affect your FICO credit score are payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, types of accounts in use, and new credit. When you use a credit card, your credit score can be affected in many ways. By paying off your credit cards or making your payments on time, you can make a positive impact on your credit score. Late card payment will negatively affect your credit score.
Credit utilization, or the percentage of your credit limit that you’re using at any given time, is the second factor affecting your credit score. You need to keep your credit utilization under 30%. The next factor affecting your credit score is how old your credit accounts are. The longer your credit history is, the better your credit will be. The different types of credit that can affect your score are student loans, auto loans, or mortgages.
When you apply for a new credit card, your credit score will take a little bit of a ding. To make sure it isn’t affected, you should not apply for numerous cards in a brief period of time, particularly if you have not been building your credit for an extended period of time, stay on your monthly payments; if you can pay balances in full to avoid a finance charge.
Should I Get a Credit Card – What Fees are You Charged?
When you get a credit card, you may have to pay any fees. Some of these can be avoided. These are the most common fees. The annual fees are often charged on high-value rewards cards and other cards that are given to those with low credit scores. To avoid credit cards with annual fees, do not apply for those, and get your credit score higher.
Balance transfer fees may be something you’ll have to pay. If you move one balance to another, you’ll have to pay this fee. Avoid the fees by not transferring balances to another card. The late payment fee can be charged if you do not pay the minimum payment by the due date on your statement. Avoid this by paying on time payments. Also, the ‘over the limit’ fee is one that many people have run into. This is a fee that is charged to you if you exceed your credit card balance. In 2009, however, there was a new law that says you have to opt into this fee. Avoid by not going over your credit limit.
Should I Get a Credit Card – Bottom Line
If you want to know whether you should get a credit card, this is up to you in the long run. You need to be able to trust yourself to do the right things with the credit cards before you can responsibly apply for one. If you can hold yourself accountable and want to improve your credit history and score, then you should apply for one. Many are not at a point in their lives where they are ready to take on the responsibility of having a credit card. All you need is your name, address, and social security number to apply for a credit card. If your job isn’t secure, or if you can’t seem to budget yet, then we suggest that you wait. It’s better to wait until you’re ready than to make a mistake that you may not be able to fix until you’re a lot older.
Published April 24, 2019; UPDATED May 16, 2019.