How to Get a Credit Card for the First Time: Starter Credit Cards

Who Qualifies for a Credit Card?

People with a long history of consistent, timely payments qualify for top cards. Younger people with poor credit scores or who don’t have established credit can often still get credit cards, but the options are more limited.

What is a Starter Credit Card?

Starter credit cards are designed for people who need to establish credit. These cards might be secured or unsecured (more information on this later), like a student credit card and usually don’t have the best terms. 

What Do You Need to Apply for a Credit Card?

Identifying information. This includes a Social Security number or an individual taxpayer identification number (though some cards don’t require you to have this as you might be an international student applying for a card).

What Do You Need to Apply for a Credit Card?

Income sources or financial resources. This money can be earned or owned by yourself, but it can also be money you have a reasonable expectation of access for repaying the debts incurred on the card. This means you can have money from a third-party source count as income, such as if you have a spouse who works or has funds and you don’t work yourself.

How to Find the Right First Credit Card

1. Look at where you currently bank

2. Look at available offers – secured cards, pre-approved unsecured credit cards

How to Find the Right First Credit Card

3. Understand the terms, trade-offs and how each type of credit card works

4. Target cards with low fees, report credit to credit bureaus

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