First Time Credit Card Application: Useful Tools To Help You Through It

first time credit card application

What to Know About First Time Credit Card Application

Are you about to embark on a first time credit card application for a credit card? Is this your first time to apply for a credit card with no credit history?

Approximately 200 million individuals in the U.S. use credit cards, and it’s easy to join that number.

consumer applying for credit on tablet

Credit cards build valuable credit and help you manage your finances. When used right, they can be a critical financial tool for your future success.

Filling out your first time credit card application feels intimidating.

Even if you confident in your credit card selection, the process can seem confusing when applying for your first credit card ever.

In this post, we’ll go over everything you need to know about the application process.  We will tell you everything you need to know about how to apply for a credit card for the first time. This way you’ll have no problem getting approved in no time!

1. Feel Confident in Your Choice

Applying for a credit card can take a mere five minutes. In this sense, it can be easy to type in some information and wait for a response.

Before you submit a first time credit card application, take some time to feel confident in your credit card choice.

If you haven’t done so already, research cards that suit your financial criteria. The best card will meet your criteria for interest rate, cash rewards, and usability.

This may include the best credit cards for first-time users or credit cards for students with no credit.

confident women sitting and smiling in office space

Or you want to build some credit and need credit cards for bad credit.

Peruse customer reviews and institutional rankings of leading card companies. If you’re savvy, find a card that meets your criteria and offers a cash-back incentive upon signing up.

Make sure to inspect credit card reward programs. Over 60% of people using credit cards have a rewards card of some kind.

Don’t be lured into applying for a credit card because of this incentive.

If you’re still not confident in your credit card selection, ask for referrals. Chat with friends and family members about credit cards that they would recommend.

Don’t open that application tab until you feel that you are making the best decision.

2. Understand the Terms

Credit card language can be confusing the first time you encounter it. As you prepare to submit your first-time credit card application, make sure you understand the terms.

APR, for example, is the interest rate your credit card company will apply to unpaid balances. This is a percentage. So, if your card’s APR is 15%, you can expect to pay a fee of 15% of your unpaid balance every month that balance goes unpaid.

Many cards offer an intro 0% APR period on unpaid balances for the first few months or year.

Your card will also come with a credit limit. This means the amount of money you can spend at a given time. If your credit limit is $4,000, this means you can only use your card to make purchases up to $4,000 in value.

Your credit limit is calculated based off of your income and credit history. It can change over time, especially if your income levels change.

Your credit score is a number assigned to you by a credit bureau based off of your borrowing history. You can build good credit by opening a few accounts.  Including loans and credit cards if you manage them in a responsible way.

Many credit cards will enable you to view your credit score once you’ve opened an account with them.

3. Have Key Information on Hand

A first-time credit card application requires some key information. You will need to provide contact information.  Which includes name, address, phone number–as well as your social security number.

Most credit card applications will also need your current annual income level. If you are unsure of your income level, refer to the prior year’s tax return.

If this is not workable, provide an estimate based off of your most recent pay stub.

woman verifying charts and information with coffee and lap top

Do provide a physical address when applying. The credit card company will need this so that you can actually receive your card in the mail.

This physical address will be your temporary billing address. This is something you’ll need to have on hand for making online purchases and more.

If you don’t have a physical address where you can receive mail, input a family member or friend’s address.

4. Read the Fine Print

A first time credit card application is unlikely to have a ton of fine print. What’s more, the extra information will vary depending on the financial institution.

If there is fine print, make sure to read every word. Understand all terms you’ll be following if you do get approved for the credit card.

This includes APR and usage limitations.

Do know that if approved for a credit card, you can change your mind. But, opening and then canceling a credit card account can harm your credit score. Especially if you use the card for only a short period of time.

5. Call a Customer Representative

If questions come up when completing your first time credit card application, call customer service. Many financial institutions enable users to chat with experts via their website.

Customer representatives can help you feel more confident in your credit card choice. They can also answer questions about income levels, APR, and sign-up incentives.

6. Know What to Expect

After you submit a first time credit card application, you may not have an answer right away.

It may be several business days before you hear about approval. What’s more, some banks will only issue approval or disapproval statements via mail.

man pointing finger at information button

If you don’t get approved, the bank will also explain why this is the case. If your rejected for a card, call the bank for further information. Don’t get discouraged!

If approved, you’ll receive information about your credit limit immediately. You’ll also receive documentation containing the card’s terms.

You will need to activate your card when you receive it.  Likely by calling a number or entering information online. The moment you start using your card, you are building credit.

Your First Time Credit Card Application

Applying for your first credit card is a big decision. Before you submit your application, know what to expect. Also, ensure that you feel confident in your card selection.

Have key information on hand and don’t be afraid to contact a customer service representative. Understand all terms before you apply–this includes reading the fine print.

Credit Squared is your ultimate resource for managing your credit. Get more credit knowledge today!

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