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A Guide to Opening Your First Credit Card
A Guide to Opening Your First Credit Card6/4/2019

young excited girl holding paper with open laptop and water glass on deskOpening your first credit card is one of the rites of passage into genuine adulthood, but with so much conflicting information, it can all get confusing fast!

We will help you walk you through the process to help you build a strong credit score and credit history that will serve you well throughout your life.

Choosing a credit card

The way people typically build a credit history is by opening a credit card. But ironically, many credit cards won’t accept your application because you don’t yet have that credit history!

You’ll need to build your credit history from the ground up, starting with cards that offer a very low limit, such as MCCU’s Secured Visa® or Visa Signature® College Real Rewards Card.

Don’t apply to just any card that’ll have you. Look for these features when making your choice:

  • No annual fees. You shouldn’t have to pay money to use your card. Sometime in the future, you may want to open up a high-perk card with an annual fee to match, but for now, just concentrate on building your credit score.

  • A low interest rate. For your first credit card, you likely won’t be offered a really low interest rate, but that doesn’t mean you should be taken for a ride. MCCU’s credit cards offer extremely competitive rates, plus they’re from a financial institution you can trust.

  • Rewards. Why not earn rewards for using your credit card? Once you’ve built up some credit, consider switching to a Rewards credit card – you can get cash back, or points for travel or merchandise. You can even opt for a statement credit to help pay down your bill.
Credit card dos and don’ts

Once you’ve opened your card, or cards, make sure you use them to build and maintain that excellent score. Follow these guidelines and you won’t go wrong:

Do …
  • Pay your bill on time each month.

  • Check your credit score monthly.

  • Review your statements for suspicious activity.

  • Keep your cards in a safe place.

  • Accept offers of a higher line of credit.
Don’t …
  • Pay just the minimum balance due each billing cycle.

  • Open new cards just before taking out a large loan, like a mortgage or auto loan.

  • Use all of your available credit.

  • Allow unsecured websites to save your card information.

  • Share your card information with anyone.

Ready for your first credit card? See what we can offer you before you shop around!

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