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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 533156 times)

Offline kivabb

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4410 on: December 13, 2018, 05:57:46 PM »
I just applied for this card for both my 18 and 20 year old who are both full time students in Yeshiva and got approved for both

https://www.bankofamerica.com/credit-cards/products/student-cash-back-credit-card/

Granted that I did have them both as associate card holders on my account over the last 12 months so not sure if that was contributing factor.

Thank you for all the great information.

Offline ckmk47

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4411 on: December 13, 2018, 10:34:07 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?
What's the lower end of income that he would need to be approved for a card?


Itzik, did you overshoot when you wrote your income?  Maybe you can backtrack to a number you can prove yourself?

Offline ItzikF

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4412 on: December 16, 2018, 07:23:55 AM »
What's the lower end of income that he would need to be approved for a card?


Itzik, did you overshoot when you wrote your income?  Maybe you can backtrack to a number you can prove yourself?
Thanks for the advise
I ended up proving the income with a letter from my father and they took it no problem. Did learn a lesson for next time though :)

Offline Willie

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4413 on: January 05, 2019, 11:40:08 PM »
Looking to apply for Chase Reserve... Have 5 cards opened within past 12 months (one of which is a business card) and credit score of 760... Any worry that i may be rejected and I should wait until after 24 months or can i apply now?

Offline as2

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4414 on: January 05, 2019, 11:41:38 PM »
Looking to apply for Chase Reserve... Have 5 cards opened within past 12 months (one of which is a business card) and credit score of 760... Any worry that i may be rejected and I should wait until after 24 months or can i apply now?
If you're 5/24 I'd recommend you wait. Most likely will be auto declined.
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Offline S209

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4415 on: January 06, 2019, 12:17:55 AM »
If you're 5/24 I'd recommend you wait. Most likely will be auto declined.
Looking to apply for Chase Reserve... Have 5 cards opened within past 12 months (one of which is a business card) and credit score of 760... Any worry that i may be rejected and I should wait until after 24 months or can i apply now?
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Offline as2

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4416 on: January 06, 2019, 12:19:59 AM »
Looking to apply for Chase Reserve... Have 5 cards opened within past 12 months (one of which is a business card) and credit score of 760... Any worry that i may be rejected and I should wait until after 24 months or can i apply now?
If you're 5/24 I'd recommend you wait. Most likely will be auto declined.
I should elaborate. If that business card does not report, you will be at 4/24 and you definitely can go ahead.
Memories last forever, make them while you can.

Offline Willie

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4417 on: January 06, 2019, 12:02:18 PM »
I should elaborate. If that business card does not report, you will be at 4/24 and you definitely can go ahead.
Ya thats my question does Spg business count towards 5/24

Offline shmielyosef

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4418 on: January 06, 2019, 12:28:08 PM »
Ya thats my question does Spg business count towards 5/24
If its not on the credit report they use (it usually doesn't report) it doesn't count

Offline S209

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4419 on: January 06, 2019, 12:35:07 PM »
Ya thats my question does Spg business count towards 5/24
No
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Offline Willie

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4420 on: January 06, 2019, 02:54:16 PM »
Ok so anything i should know before applying for the reserve... for example theres no oppurtunity for referral correct?

Offline shmielyosef

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4421 on: January 06, 2019, 03:17:04 PM »
Ok so anything i should know before applying for the reserve... for example theres no oppurtunity for referral correct?
There is an opportunity for referral.  Did u get the sapphire preferred in the last 24 months?

Offline Savingsbeast

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Best option for high utilization?
« Reply #4422 on: January 06, 2019, 03:18:44 PM »
Asking for a friend. What's the best cards to try to obtain with high utilization?

Current cards/balances
Chase 83% utilization
Chase 64% utilization
Discover 8K limit 0 util
Honda/Citi 77% util
Average utilization is 54%

Offline as2

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4423 on: January 06, 2019, 03:18:59 PM »


There is an opportunity for referral.  Did u get the sapphire preferred bonus in the last 48 months?

FTFY
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Offline shmielyosef

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Re: Credit Card For Beginners
« Reply #4424 on: January 06, 2019, 03:19:20 PM »