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If you are here reading this forum/thread, you probably have heard, seen or know someone who has been leveraging credit card points for free or very low cost travel and want to get involved. While it may be very tempting to jump right in and apply for a bunch of credit cards, it is advisable to read through the forums before doing so.

For those who have no credit history, building your credit score is strongly recommended and may even be needed before applying for any credit cards.

Step 1 - Try and get added as an Authorized User (AU) on an established credit card. This card should be kept in good standing and preferably have a low credit utilization ratio.
Some have had success with Amex to get your card backdated to the primary cardholders "member since" date. Having this done will increase your credit history to that of  the account holders first Amex card.
UPDATE Amex no longer backdates any cards. Any authorized user card will show up on the AUs report as a new account, opened on the date that the AU was added. Amex is now one of the worse choices to get added as an AU to, for credit building purposes.
Chase, Citi, Bank of America and others are more likely to show the full history of the primary cardholder on the authorized user's report than Amex is.

Additional Option - In conjunction with being added as an AU, you can  sign up for a secure credit card.
A secured credit card works almost like a debit card (you need to lay out your credit limit), but this functions as a regular credit card and will help build your credit score.

Step 2 - Once you are setup as an AU, it is best to wait a few months before applying for your first card.

Your first card should be a store credit card, which are easier to get approved for, especially with very limited credit history.
Some of the store cards people apply for are Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic, Kohl's, Macy's, Target etc. While these cards will not give you major signup bonuses to travel with, they do give you access to exclusive promotions and other perks when purchasing from the store.

Additional Options - The CapitalOne Journey card seems to be easier to get approved for, though understand they will pull your credit from all three agencies, while most banks only pull from one.

Discover has a student card you can apply for here. This can also be an easier option to getting approved for your first card. Their regular IT card (not student) seems to be pretty easy to get approved for with little to no credit history as well.

Step 3 - Pay your bill before your statement closes (cut off date), but leave a minimal amount remaining to be paid after your statement closes. This will help ensure that you have both a low CC utilization while establishing a good credit payment history. (This applies to new spending from this month.  Anything already 'due' should be paid in full.)

Step 4 - After using your first card for a few months, you will be ready to apply for the cards you will have read and heard so much about. Remember that getting accepted for a credit card is a combination of many factors like credit history and your credit score, but it is also dependent on the income that you claim* you make.  Income is not part of your credit report or score.

Step 5 - This is a brief synopsis of what to do when applying for credit cards. There are additional factors one should understand before applying for credit cards. DDF is a great resource and there are many people willing to answer your questions (which you should ask, albeit after attempting a search) 

*If you are under 21, you are legally only allowed to report personal income. Personal income, however, can include allowances and scholarships.
If you are over 21, you can claim any income which you have reasonable access to in order to pay back the bill, which includes the income of others in the household (spouse/parent), or anyone supporting you. Additionally, while most banks will not have you verify your income, it does happen and you should be prepared to show them. This is particularly prevalent with American Express, and is known as a Financial Review (FR).
« Last edited by S209 on September 09, 2018, 01:45:26 AM »

Author Topic: Credit Card For Beginners  (Read 537289 times)

Offline Dan

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Re: First Credit Card
« Reply #120 on: August 18, 2010, 11:33:21 AM »
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline Deal Guy

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Re: First Credit Card
« Reply #121 on: August 18, 2010, 03:03:42 PM »

Offline Dan

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Re: First Credit Card
« Reply #122 on: August 18, 2010, 03:10:54 PM »
Why should it be easier than any other student card?
I didn't say it would be.
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline txtmax4

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Re: First Credit Card
« Reply #123 on: August 18, 2010, 03:56:35 PM »
Why should it be easier than any other student card?
He meant easier than non-student account and a good offer.
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Offline Emily

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Re: First Credit Card
« Reply #124 on: August 19, 2010, 08:48:43 AM »
Can you please post another link for a free way to get my credit score?

Offline Yellow

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Re: First Credit Card
« Reply #125 on: August 19, 2010, 12:25:16 PM »
Can you please post another link for a free way to get my credit score?

to get a free credit score i signed up for citi identity monitor where they allow you to see your credit score/report AND speak to CSR's who can answer questions you might have. I think it's $12.95 but you get a free month trial so if you cancel within 1st month you get your money back
There are other ways to get it free but i liked being able to speak to a CSR who answered my questions
http://www.identitymonitor.citi.com/

Offline txtmax4

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Re: First Credit Card
« Reply #126 on: August 19, 2010, 03:43:47 PM »
Can you please post another link for a free way to get my credit score?
If you want you REAL score, the one credit card companies base their decisions on, then go to myfico.com where you can view one of your credit reports and score once for free (30 day free trial, you can set it up to auto-cancel the subscription before it rolls into a second month).
You can also view your credit report at quizzle.com where they also give you a score, but that's a FACO score.
I personally think Quizzle is the best free site for credit education and help.
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Offline Dan

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Re: First Credit Card
« Reply #127 on: August 19, 2010, 04:15:36 PM »
If you want you REAL score, the one credit card companies base their decisions on, then go to myfico.com where you can view one of your credit reports and score once for free (30 day free trial, you can set it up to auto-cancel the subscription before it rolls into a second month).
You can also view your credit report at quizzle.com where they also give you a score, but that's a FACO score.
I personally think Quizzle is the best free site for credit education and help.
Which package on myfico has a free trial that lets you see your score?
Save your time, I don't answer PM. Post it in the forum and a dedicated DDF'er will get back to you as soon as possible.

Offline txtmax4

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Re: First Credit Card
« Reply #128 on: August 19, 2010, 04:40:50 PM »
Which package on myfico has a free trial that lets you see your score?
You are correct.
FICO has 30-day free trial giveaways every so often, and currently they are not offering it but you can follow them on Twitter to find out when the next one will be. Be on the lookout.
The reason why I carelessly wrote that you can check it once for free was because at the time i got my free trial, it was an open offer without expiration date or limit to a certain amount of people (ex. first 10.000 responders). I just did some research and see what you are saying.

Interestingly enough, I had two 30-day free trials. The first one was about 10 years ago when I barely knew what a credit score was, just got an email offer and went for it stam.
About a year and a half ago, I decided to check it and when I tried to register for the free trial, the system was giving me a message saying I already used up my trial offer, and that's when I remembered about 10 yrs ago... So I called them and told them that 10 yrs ago I had no clue what I was looking at and they opened it up for me once more... The end.
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Offline Emily

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Re: First Credit Card
« Reply #129 on: August 20, 2010, 12:44:06 PM »
Should I spend a $1 and get my credit score from Experian? or it's a waste?

Offline txtmax4

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Re: First Credit Card
« Reply #130 on: August 20, 2010, 02:30:07 PM »
Should I spend a $1 and get my credit score from Experian? or it's a waste?
You have the right to see all three reports for free once every year.
Log on to www.AnnualCreditReport.com
Do NOT get it from freecreditreport dot com.
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Offline AsherO

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Re: First Credit Card
« Reply #131 on: August 23, 2010, 09:30:40 AM »
You have the right to see all three reports for free once every year.
Log on to www.AnnualCreditReport.com
Do NOT get it from freecreditreport dot com.

I don't think this comes with a score.
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Offline txtmax4

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Re: First Credit Card
« Reply #132 on: August 23, 2010, 09:17:53 PM »
I don't think this comes with a score.
What good is a score if it isn't a FICO score?
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Offline AsherO

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Re: First Credit Card
« Reply #133 on: August 24, 2010, 11:26:12 AM »
What good is a score if it isn't a FICO score?

Precisely my point. The person was asking about a score and you referred them to a site where they don't get one.
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Offline txtmax4

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Re: First Credit Card
« Reply #134 on: August 24, 2010, 06:40:16 PM »
Precisely my point. The person was asking about a score and you referred them to a site where they don't get one.
My bad ;D
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