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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 533256 times)

Offline ahron15

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4395 on: August 31, 2018, 10:41:18 AM »
It should still help you build credit but I would suggest starting with Discover It or Chase Freedom
its for a relative with NO credit history not even AU and he needs a CC for everyday spend and to build his credit I think the freedom will get denied prob have a better chance with discover no?

Offline grodnoking

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4396 on: August 31, 2018, 10:43:59 AM »
its for a relative with NO credit history not even AU and he needs a CC for everyday spend and to build his credit I think the freedom will get denied prob have a better chance with discover no?
If he has a TD Bank account I'd say he should apply for the TD Cash Card
I'm not who you think I am.

Online mmgfarb

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4397 on: August 31, 2018, 10:53:42 AM »
its for a relative with NO credit history not even AU and he needs a CC for everyday spend and to build his credit I think the freedom will get denied prob have a better chance with discover no?
Try the discover student card.
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Offline yyy

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4398 on: October 29, 2018, 10:02:01 AM »
Hi,
Would you please share your wisdom?

I have a credit score of 645.
I haven't had a credit card in years. I would like to build my credit. I would spend about $500/month.
I do not live in the USA, but I do have an address and bank account there.

Thank you for your help.

Offline incendia

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4399 on: October 29, 2018, 12:51:51 PM »
Hi,
Would you please share your wisdom?

I have a credit score of 645.
I haven't had a credit card in years. I would like to build my credit. I would spend about $500/month.
I do not live in the USA, but I do have an address and bank account there.

Thank you for your help.

I would suggest the Discover IT of Chase Freedom cards to start out.

Discover isn't used in many places outside the US, and the Freedom has foreign transaction fees.

I would then suggest the BoA Travel Rewards card.

All these cards have no annual fee.

Offline PillanSmye

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4400 on: October 30, 2018, 09:30:16 AM »
its for a relative with NO credit history not even AU and he needs a CC for everyday spend and to build his credit I think the freedom will get denied prob have a better chance with discover no?

I know a young lady with no credit that recently got a Freedom and Discover.  She does bank with Chase and applied inbranch for the Freedom.

Offline davidrotts63

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4401 on: October 30, 2018, 09:34:10 AM »
I know a young lady with no credit that recently got a Freedom and Discover.  She does bank with Chase and applied inbranch for the Freedom.
Adds to a theory of mine that approvals are easier in branch for those with thin/no credit.
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Offline incendia

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4402 on: October 30, 2018, 10:30:48 AM »
Adds to a theory of mine that approvals are easier in branch for those with thin/no credit.

It shouldn't unless you have many data points of similar situations where they were denied when applying online or over the phone

For people that already bank with Chase getting a Freedom card with no credit history shouldn't be a problem

Offline davidrotts63

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4403 on: October 30, 2018, 10:37:26 AM »


For people that already bank with Chase getting a Freedom card with no credit history shouldn't be a problem
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Online ruv

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4404 on: October 30, 2018, 11:52:55 PM »
I got a freedom a few years ago with ZERO credit history, after banking with them for about 6 months.

Offline ItzikF

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4405 on: November 03, 2018, 12:07:55 PM »
After reading through this thread I applied for the Capital One Secured CC as my first card. I included some my families income as my own. Now they want me to submit proof of income and it can be done with a letter from my my father. They say you can only use ur families income if ur 21 but I am only gonna be 21 in 2 months.Is this a problem?

Offline grodnoking

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4406 on: November 03, 2018, 03:57:30 PM »
After reading through this thread I applied for the Capital One Secured CC as my first card. I included some my families income as my own. Now they want me to submit proof of income and it can be done with a letter from my my father. They say you can only use ur families income if ur 21 but I am only gonna be 21 in 2 months.Is this a problem?
Your not 21, so they don't (maybe wont) accept. AFAIK, thay don't like people using family income to begin with (I think it's a legal thing that they have to).
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Offline YesThatsMe

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4407 on: November 05, 2018, 11:43:30 AM »
Does a adding an authorized user to a US Bank Credit Card "age" the AU's credit history?

Offline ItzikF

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4408 on: November 06, 2018, 07:17:00 AM »
Pretty sure yes. I was added to a Chase Mileageplus Explorer and when I check my credit it shows it begins from activation of the CC.

Offline YesThatsMe

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4409 on: November 06, 2018, 11:06:49 AM »
Pretty sure yes. I was added to a Chase Mileageplus Explorer and when I check my credit it shows it begins from activation of the CC.
I asked about US Bank. I know Chase does, but I don't have an old one to hook onto.