10 Things You Need to Know Before Getting a Credit Card

Photo by Matt Sherberg

Photo by Matt Sherberg

Read this before getting a credit card.

When used correctly, credit cards provide a safety net or a practical way to reduce the amount of cash that you carry while shopping or traveling. Approximately 167 million Americans have at least one credit card, and nearly 70% of those card holders have more than one card. Of that 70%, there is a small percentage of individuals who have more than seven cards.

Applying for a credit card is simple and can be done online, over the phone, through the mail, or in person, depending on which type of card you want. Store cards can often be obtained at a cash register or customer service desk, while cards from well-known companies, such as Visa and MasterCard, generally have an online application. You can apply for more than one card at a time, but filling out an application does not guarantee an approval.

Once you have a credit card, it’s important to learn what your contract says and use your card wisely. Learn when and how to pay your card, and keep in mind that your interest rate affects your overall balance. Thinking about filling out a credit application? Familiarize yourself with these 10 things you need to know before getting a credit card.