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When I was 20, I got my first (and only) credit card.
The reason why I got it is going to seem random, but I had actually been looking into it for some time and finally took the plunge.
I was interested in a really great deal on an Amazon Fire phone. They were selling it for dirt cheap plus throwing in a free year of Amazon prime with purchase. I was using a Windows phone on the fritz and knew it was time I bought my first phone on my own.
Because I was making a large purchase, Amazon was pulling out the sales pitch. $40 off if I signed up with their Visa card. This is a card you can use anywhere and gives you cash back reward points to use on Amazon (enabling me to buy some pretty cool stuff for free).
I stopped my checkout process and started researching this card in particular. I compared it to other card programs, checked out the policies, and decided this was the card for me. Other cards I had looked into either required annual fees or had some bad reviews when it came to customer service.
I recommend thoroughly researching which card is right for you in your situation. You want to make sure your account history is long and getting a card that you end up not liking will hurt you.
How it helped me
This card diversified my credit history. This was really important. Up until this point my credit history only had my student loans on it.
We went to buy a car 2 years later and were told that while our credit score was good, the lack of diversity in accounts was making us look more like risks to the banks. We did end up getting the financing we needed, but it certainly established in my mind the need to keep our credit history revolving and fresh.
Without this credit card, my husband would have had no history at all. Now because of it, we were able to buy 2 cars and our first house.
Is now the right time to get a credit card for you?
Do you have a job that not only pays the bills, but covers enough for you to have a little emergency fund going? You need to be able to pay your card in full each month. If you can’t, the card will end up being more trouble than it’s worth.
You know yourself. This is where you have to be honest with yourself about you financial responsibility. Will having a credit card be a temptation to you? Hold off. If you have any suspicions that you might make impulse purchases you can’t afford- don’t get a card.
Applying for a credit card is definitely not something to enter into lightly. If you start off your adult life making good financial decisions everything you want to do later will come easier.
Weigh your benefits and your risks and decide if it’s the right move for you right now. If you are looking to build credit in a less tempting way, look into a secured credit card. Secured credit cards work more like debit cards than credit cards, but will go on your credit history and help your score.