General Question

sevenfourteen's avatar

What is a good first credit card?

Asked by sevenfourteen (2422points) April 23rd, 2009

I’m a college student and I need to build up my credit. Owning my own cell phone did nothing for me, and even though I’ve had the same checking account for over 4 years I’m still being denied for signing my own student loans. (I already have student loans, but they clearly didn’t help either). I need a way to build my credit and I also think it might be practical to get a credit card, you know “just in case of emergencies”. Where’s a good place to start? (oh, any my bank won’t give me one because I don’t make enough money)

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16 Answers

Judi's avatar

It used to be (Back in the 70’s when I was establishing credit) that you went to a jewelry store, bought something small and paid it off in about 6 months. The banks wouldn’t consider giving you credit until you had established some credit. With the tight money, it may be going back to that again. I hope the days are gone when they give credit cards to anyone without establishing how they are going to pay it back!

qualitycontrol's avatar

get capital one…300$ credit limit, they gave me one when I was 18 and had no credit. If you pay everything on time and keep the balance low (or paying off the balance is better) your credit will go up. After a while they raise the limit, which doesn’t mean spend more, but it means they trust you more. What I did was got a couple other credit cards after the capital one (a best buy credit card, a macy’s card and some reward zone mastercard) just to build my credit. I used them for a few purchases then paid off the balance and never used them again. I have pretty good credit now. I also took out a car loan when I was 19 and paid it on time so that was helpful to my credit score so now I can get credit anywhere and take out loans and I’m 20. So start small, have a variety of credit accounts and ALWAYS pay on time!

casheroo's avatar

Capital One is the worst, do not get them! They were my first credit card too, because they gave me credit when they probably shouldn’t have. They are notorious for fees.

I love my Bank of America card, low promotional it off within a year and you’re good.

The best way to build credit, is with store credit cards! We have a Best Buy card, and Ikea card. We make purchases then pay it off within a year..then we use the card again, paying whatever we purchased off before buying anything new. This shows that you are continuously responsible with paying off what you owe. My brother does this with every car inspection he gets. His credit card with Michelin has 90 days without interest, so he pays it off within that period.

Kiev749's avatar

get a student one. they normally don’t charge interest while your still in school and you make payments on time. Its the cheapest way to build your credit up.

Kiev749's avatar

@casheroo You should buy me the bed frame i want from ikea and ship it to me since they won’t!

casheroo's avatar

@Kiev749 which one? we have a bed frame from Ikea, and it’s so weird not having a box spring. And we’ve had our mattress for two years (from them) and it sucks already. I figured it might last longer than two years! haha.

squirbel's avatar

Don’t get a credit card. Please. A credit card is not the way to learn proper personal finance.

Do what Judi said. Go to a jewelry store, electronics store, or music shop and finance something small. Pay it off over 6 months, and voilĂ ! a good credit score. When I was in college [2003], I had regular income from work-study, so I went to a guitar store and financed a Big Baby Taylor guitar. I had enough money to buy it outright, but I spaced out the payments over 6 months.

This shows creditors that you are an honest, responsible, and timely person. That’s all a credit score is for. Credit cards are not a good starting point because it feels like free money.

SpatzieLover's avatar

A good first card would be one with the LOWEST possible APR.

Your best bet, however, to gain credit and shop responsibly would be to apply for a Kohl’s card or another “store” card that you would normally shop at anyway. Then, when you get the bill (or even before you do) pay via your online bank account the WHOLE amount you spent.

I, along with several friends, built up GREAT credit in our youth, by paying off bills prior to them being due. I still do this today. Pay your cell bill, your electric bill and any store/credit card ahead. That way you’ll never be behind, and your credit report score will be beautiful and unblemished when it comes time for you to get a loan for a home.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Ask your bank if they’ll give you a secured credit card. This means you’ll put up an agreed upon amount of money into the acct. to start, say $300–500. and you’ll be able to charge up to that amount and as you pay it down be able to charge against the unused balance. Many students start off this way as well as people with poor credit histories trying to rebuild. After 6mos. or a year of you using and paying against the card on time, your bank might approve you for an unsecured card account with higher balance. The interest rates vary per bank, call around.

blondie411's avatar

You say you have a checking account, why not start with them since you’ve been a customer there. A credit card isn’t free money and should always be paid off in full each month so obviously know what you put on there you have to pay off but check first the APR. Going with the bank that your already a customer might help since you can show that your a person that is good with your money already. At least that is how I got my first credit card at 18.

qualitycontrol's avatar

There is no difference between financing something for 300$ and getting a credit card with a 300$ limit. It’s all “free money” because you have something you bought with borrowed money. But whether you have a credit card to a store or a capital one card, as long as you pay on time then your credit report will be fine. What I did was use the card to make small purchases (maybe buy gas, go out to eat, go to the movies) and then pay off the balance before it was due. These were all things I had money to cover. Not only does paying on time affect your credit but your debt/credit ratio affects it as well. A general rule to go by is never rack up more than 50% of credit allowed if you can’t pay off the balance. So if your limit is 300$ then don’t go above 150$. This will keep your credit in better standing if you decide to finance something or get a credit card. Some people think it’s wise not to get a credit card because it will get you into debt but I think it is a great way to build your credit. If you ever want to make a major purchase down the road and need to get a loan with low interest rates (like a house or car) then you will need good credit. Also, like mentioned above, before you go for a credit card try getting a debit card with a mastercard or visa logo so you can use it as a credit card. This way you will only be able to spend money you have. Although credit cards are very evil, the only one who can get you into debt is you, so don’t spend more than you can afford! Good luck!

sevenfourteen's avatar

@everyone, thanks for the imput.
I have a debit card with a visa logo on it (I’ve even gotten a replacement because the old one expired after 3 years) and it hasn’t done anything for me. Does a store credit card have to be used at that same store though? I don’t really shop anywhere in particular a lot, and I buy my books off random sites so that wouldn’t be much help.

SpatzieLover's avatar

Here is some more info for you @sevenfourteen.

Personally, I prefer a first credit card is for something you’d use anyway. It’s a good way for you to remind your self “credit” is the same as cash. Not to be used for frivolity.

You could get an Amazon or Barnes credit card. And, if you get one or the other, you could use a variety of resources to get the books cheaper (Barnes always has coupon codes-etc)

Otherwise, a gas card, or Wal-mart, or??? Do you shop at any store/place regularly?

Kiev749's avatar

A particular store credit card doesn’t necessarily have to be used just at that certain store. However. They may give you certain perks when you use their card at their store. For instance, I shop a lot at sams club. we have a huge family. They offer a discover card that gives up to 2% cash back on all my purchases there and walmart because they are both the same company. And it still gives me 1 % on anywhere else discover is accepted. Check the brochure of the card. Do your research.

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