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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 540609 times)

Offline smurf

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Re: HELP!!! HOW DO U BUILD UP UR CREDIT??!!
« Reply #165 on: January 18, 2011, 04:21:13 PM »
you're right seems like they only report one limit. the store card says na

Offline miles

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Re: HELP!!! HOW DO U BUILD UP UR CREDIT??!!
« Reply #166 on: January 23, 2011, 12:39:51 PM »
how is now the best way to get a first card

Offline Esther

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Re: HELP!!! HOW DO U BUILD UP UR CREDIT??!!
« Reply #167 on: January 25, 2011, 03:50:19 PM »
I also just got denied for the same reason. I've had a Macy's card for a while. I barely use it but when I did everything was paid on time. I'm gonna try the joint account holder thing though. Hopefully that will work.

Offline Yellow

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Re: HELP!!! HOW DO U BUILD UP UR CREDIT??!!
« Reply #168 on: January 25, 2011, 04:28:22 PM »
I also just got denied for the same reason. I've had a Macy's card for a while. I barely use it but when I did everything was paid on time. I'm gonna try the joint account holder thing though. Hopefully that will work.
Just make sure you join accounts with someone who has good credit

Offline farmerjoe

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best first credit card
« Reply #169 on: February 13, 2011, 03:29:59 AM »
hi i am 18 and looking to apply for my first credit card now,what would be the best first cc to get to start building a good credit score, i currently have a checking account with BOA. thanks

Offline daganster

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Re: best first credit card
« Reply #170 on: February 13, 2011, 07:32:20 AM »
Apply for a card with CapitalOne they're very easy.

Offline Dan

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Re: best first credit card
« Reply #171 on: February 13, 2011, 11:22:35 AM »
A store card is usually easiest, like from Gap.
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 Bh101

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Re: best first credit card
« Reply #172 on: February 13, 2011, 02:44:07 PM »
student cards are perfect for someone ur age starting off.

Offline how

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Re: best first credit card
« Reply #173 on: February 13, 2011, 03:59:53 PM »
Apply for a card with CapitalOne they're very easy.
but with a very low credit line and they probably will only give you a card with an annual fee

Offline daastorah

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Re: best first credit card
« Reply #174 on: February 13, 2011, 04:06:02 PM »
but with a very low credit line and they probably will only give you a card with an annual fee
I got my first card with them, there is no annual fee just a high APR so if u pay on time your fine, and cashback rewards.

Offline daastorah

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Re: best first credit card
« Reply #175 on: February 14, 2011, 01:04:14 AM »
A store card is usually easiest, like from Gap.
do you have to buy something in GAP once a month to build credit, or could these store cards be used anywear else?

Offline Dan

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Re: best first credit card
« Reply #176 on: February 14, 2011, 01:21:46 AM »
do you have to buy something in GAP once a month to build credit, or could these store cards be used anywear else?
Generally they're only good in that store.  And buying a small item once a month (even a $1 GC) would be a good idea.  Just remember to pay it off on time!
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 AsherO

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Re: best first credit card
« Reply #177 on: February 14, 2011, 02:16:10 AM »
Generally they're only good in that store.  And buying a small item once a month (even a $1 GC) would be a good idea.  Just remember to pay it off on time!

You can use it at other GAP Inc. brands such as Old Navy, Banana Republic, Piperlime etc.
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Offline hocker

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Re: best first credit card
« Reply #178 on: February 14, 2011, 03:43:05 AM »
I got my first card with them, there is no annual fee just a high APR so if u pay on time your fine, and cashback rewards.
after the first year they DO charge you a $39 annual fee which they don`t waive for no money. Closing it also isn`t an option because of your credit history years.
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Offline daastorah

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Re: best first credit card
« Reply #179 on: February 14, 2011, 01:43:33 PM »
after the first year they DO charge you a $39 annual fee which they don`t waive for no money. Closing it also isn`t an option because of your credit history years.
on there website they have a student card called journeySM student rewards, meant to build credit with no annual fee.