How to get a credit card for the first time
A credit card can be a useful financial tool, provided you understand the risks and can meet repayment obligations.
If you’re a credit card first-timer, review your options. Think about what kind of credit card would suit your lifestyle, and compare providers by fees, perks and repayments.
Once you’ve selected a card, it’s time to apply. Credit card applications can generally be completed in store, online or over the phone.
When you apply for a credit card for the first time, you must meet age, residency and income requirements. As proof, you must also provide documentation such as bank account statements.
Credit cards offering rewards can be great if you know you’ll use the card enough to get significant rewards points, and use the rewards you earn.
They can also come with high annual fees that may end up nullifying the rewards, so think how often you use the card to decide whether the benefits outweigh the extra cost for you. A card with a lower annual fee might require a lot of spending to get any useful rewards, while another card with a higher annual fee might need fewer purchases to get a reward.
Also, think about the types of benefits you’d like. There’s no point in getting a card with rewards for retailers you never visit, or travel you don’t have time to use.
Credit card debt can cripple your finances. If you’re wondering how to get rid of credit card debt, here are a few steps to get you back in the black:
Calculate your debt – Knowing the magnitude of your credit debt is important. Online credit debt calculators make it easy to determine the debt size, and repayments required.
Work out a repayment plan – Take some time to formulate a credit repayment plan. Consider increasing your income, scaling back your lifestyle or refinancing.
Talk to your credit provider – If you’re still struggling with your debt, talk to your credit provider. You may be able to come to a new arrangement.
Many people want to know how to get a free credit card. The reality is that all credit cards come with associated costs when used to make purchases – even if it’s simply the cost of making repayments.
However, many lenders offer incentives for customers such as a $0 annual fee or 0 per cent interest on purchases during an introductory period. You may be able to cut down on the usual costs associated with a credit card by comparing and choosing the right card to suit your requirements.
Additionally, paying off your balance in full during an interest-free period means you could only have to pay back the cost of purchases without interest. You could also be eligible for additional rewards such as cashback during that time, saving you more money.
In Australia it is impossible to get a credit card without the provider performing a credit check first. This is for your benefit, as it helps to prevent you from falling into avoidable debt.
Looking to get your first credit card? You might be confused as to exactly where to go to apply for one. Here’s where to go when you are ready to put in that application.
The bank: Your bank is a great place to start, provided that you have a good banking history. Since you already have a financial history, you have more chance of your application being approved.
Credit card provider: Another option is to apply for a credit card directly from the issuer, such as Visa, Mastercard or Amex. This will most likely be an online application, so do your research and apply for a suitable card for your circumstances.
Major retailers: Coles, Woolworths, Myer and David Jones all have credit cards available. But watch out for the interest rate and annual fees – these cards are designed to help you spend more in store.