First Credit Card Enables Early High FICO Credit Score
First Credit Card Big Opportunity
Life has it’s benchmarks. Turning 7 is the classical entry into the “Age of Reason” in some religions. Now it is possible to commit a sin! The first credit card makes it possible to commit financial sins that can lower your credit score for many years to come. Those who are getting their first credit card are starting out with a clean slate as pure as the driven snow. What a golden opportunity to set the stage for a lifetime of financial responsibility and all the wonderful things that come from using that first credit card as your springboard to a high FICO credit score. But what should you know to make the most of your first opportunity to get real credit?
First Credit Card Requirements
You cannot get your first credit card if you are under 18 without your parent or guardian’s signature as a co-signer. As with any co-signer they are just as responsible as you if payments are not made on time. If they are willing to do this for you you should immediately open your own checking account from which you can make your payments. The parental unit will be closely checking to make sure that your payments are timely to protect their own credit. This is your chance to shine by proving your responsibility in this area.
“Authorized User” a Great First Step Toward First Credit Card
An “authorized user” is a person who is allowed to use an account of another person as if it were their own. The monthly record of the primary card holder is also attributed by the credit reporting agencies to the record of the authorized user for better or worse. This is a wonderful step towards that first credit card if the primary account holder has a great record of timely payments, low debt to available credit ratio and a long “time in file” meaning the age since the account was opened. The primary account holder does not have to let you actually use the credit card in order to do this for you. If you do have actual access to the account the owner will be able to keep you on a short leash by carefully checking their statement each month.
I’m 18 and Ready to go for that First Credit Card
Do you have a steady source of income? Besides your parent’s allowance that is? You can’t get your own independent credit card if you can’t prove income. OK it’s time to take the training wheels off. Bear in mind that your first credit card is a great opportunity to establish your financial future. Also bear in mind that messing up can be a great source of ongoing distress.
- Pay on time! Even a single late payment hurts badly
- Use it only for things you need and can afford
- Use it only when you have the cash to pay off the debt.
- Understand the limit. It won’t be very high on the first credit card. Don’t charge near the maximum.
- Low utilization well underneath the limit will increase your credit score.
- Understand interest. It can be avoided completely by paying the entire balance due each month.
- Memorize your due date. Get an email reminder.
- Great credit scores take time. Follow these simple rules and you’ll get there.