When considering testing out different credit cards as someone new to them, you might not realize you can try for approval as early as 18 years old. That’s the beginning age for opening an account in this country.
Financial experts recommend that young adults make this effort to start building credit as early as possible. When navigating a kredittkort test or credit card test, one priority is to become informed on the language and proper use to maximize the benefit.
These tools can be valuable solutions for an array of goals, primarily becoming financially responsible. When learning to pay the debt consistently and on time, a pattern of behavior will begin to develop.
When creditors become confident that it will continue, they will extend your credit to a more advanced status, including rewards cards. As you progress, so should your knowledge to ensure intelligent choices. Points and miles can lead to huge savings on holidays or large purchases, depending on your chosen card.
How To Use a Credit Card
Before using a credit card, you need to apply and be approved. The first step to getting the right card is understanding why you want one and determining your spending habits. This will help you get one to satisfy your needs.
If you’re new to credit with little to no history and the minimum age for obtaining a card, you will be limited in your choices, likely a secured card that requires an upfront deposit to start building a profile.
In any event, the goal is to maximize the card you obtain. Click for guidance on choosing a credit card, what to look for, and how to decide.
When you use your credit wisely, you can avoid anything that might negatively impact your score, make it challenging to earn a rewards card, or worse, cycle into revolving credit card debt. Here are a few tips for testing credit cards as a newbie trying to find the best first one.
Learn to read the statement
Once you have the right credit card, responsible use includes understanding how to read the monthly statement. This is a summary of the previous month’s activity. Each invoice will be unique according to the issuer but will have the same information. Here are key details to look for.
- The current balance: This includes all activity from the previous month. You’ll notice any charges incurred, payments posted, cash advances, credits, and the interest accrued for the month if the balance is carried over.
- Minimum due: The lowest payment the issuer expects toward the current balance. This amount can range up to as much as 5 percent of the current amount owing based on the issuer.
- Date due: The minimum payment must reach the issuer to avoid incurring late charges or additional penalties. As a rule, all payments must be received by the close of business, or 5 pm, on the due date.
On most statements, the issuer will explain how the interest is calculated, if the APR is changed for any reason, disclose your legal rights, discuss your responsibilities as the cardholder, and offer details on the protocol to follow in case of fraudulent activity or mistakes on your account.
Paying consistently and on time
The minimum amount due should always be paid consistently and on time at the very least to maintain good standing with your credit and to avoid late charges and penalties. The debt can be turned over to collections if the account shows regularly missed payments.
The ideal strategy is to keep the balance within a reasonable limit so that you can pay the invoice in full each month or as often as possible to avoid accruing interest.
Excessive interest over time makes your purchases more costly. If paying in full is not feasible, try to pay the balance down as much as possible to reduce the amount you’ll accrue interest for.
Pay attention to fees
The variety of fees that are attached to credit cards can often crop up before you realize it, like these:
- Annual fee
- Late payment charges
- Balance transfer fees
- Foreign transaction fees
- Cash advance charges
Some fees will depend on the type of card you have. For instance, you can choose one with no annual fee and no foreign transaction charges. If you always pay on time or in full each month, you’ll have no worry about late charges.
And it’s recommended to avoid taking cash advances since these can be exorbitantly expensive.
Boost your credit score
One of the best ways to boost your credit score is to use a credit card responsibly by paying consistently and on time and maintaining a low utilization ratio. It’s important to become familiar with how your credit score is calculated. Here are the factors that make up the score.
- 35 percent: payment history
- 30 percent: balances
- 15 percent: credit history duration
- 10 percent: credit mix
- 10 percent: new credit
When trying to establish or rebuild your credit, these elements need to be in line. That means ensuring all payments are made by the due dates and the balances are kept within a reasonable amount to attempt to pay these in full each month.
Credit accounts should be kept active to sustain a positive credit history that endures for a considerable length of time with a nice blend of different accounts, including credit cards, home loans, car loans, and other types over a period of time instead of applying for many new products at once.
These steps show financial responsibility and will help to boost your credit score with credit providers.
Be mindful of your balances
Building a favorable credit profile will take using your credit cards, but that doesn’t mean spending a considerable amount from the credit limit provided. While issuers set a specific credit limit, they don’t like cardholders to max the card, and typically, credit scores will dip when the balances grow out of hand.
This will take your credit utilization ratio above an acceptable range, which is below 30 percent. The credit utilization ratio measures the amount of credit provided to you that’s currently in use.
This ratio accounts for 30 percent of the credit score. If the ratio is high, it will often mean a reduction in your credit score. The recommendation if you have a credit card with a limit of $1000 is to maintain at most roughly a $300 balance.
If you take the limit above this amount, it’s important to prioritize a fast payoff to prevent a dip in your credit score.
The first step when testing for a new credit card as someone starting on their credit journey is to choose a card that will fit your spending habits and suit your lifestyle. If you have little to no history and you’re the minimum age for a credit card, your choices will be limited at this stage.
That will mean finding a card to help establish or build a profile. The priority in this scenario is to prove financial responsibility by making each payment consistently and on time, maintaining low balances, and paying the full amount each month if possible.
After proving your creditworthiness and learning to maximize the benefits of your beginner’s card, issuers will offer to progress you to more advanced cards with perks, benefits, and rewards.