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How to activate a Mastercard credit card

Most card providers offer similar activation procedures.

How you activate your Mastercard credit card ultimately depends on your card’s provider. Most providers let you activate your card online, by phone or through their mobile app, with most activation methods taking just minutes. Here’s the most common ways of activating

How to activate your Mastercard credit card online

Online card activation is often the fastest way to start using your card, but you’ll first need an online account with your provider. If you don’t yet have one, enroll by providing personal information such as your Social Security number and date of birth, then:

  1. Log in to your card provider online account.
  2. Find your new credit card under Accounts.
  3. Enter your credit card information, such as your card number, expiration date and CVV/CVC.
  4. You may need to verify your ID with information like your date of birth and Social Security number.

How to activate your Mastercard credit card by phone

Card activation by phone is another widely used method.

  1. Call the number on the back of your card.
  2. Request to activate your card.
  3. Provide your Mastercard credit card’s information.
  4. You may be required to provide personal information as well.

How to activate your Mastercard credit card with a mobile app

Most large card providers let you activate your card with their mobile app.

  1. Download the card provider’s app from the App Store or Google Play.
  2. Log in with your online account username and password.
  3. Look for your card under Accounts.
  4. Follow the prompts.

Getting started with your Mastercard

Now that you’ve activated your card, it’s time to start using it. Here are a few good places to start:

  1. Set up autopay. Setting up autopay should be one of the first steps you take when you get your credit card. Autopay lets you set a payment amount for your card that will automatically post on a selected date. Setting this to your full monthly balance each month can help you avoid credit card interest altogether, as well as steer clear of late fees. Since Mastercard is just your card’s payment network, you’ll need to check out your provider-specific activation steps to set up autopay.
  2. Activate your PIN. While not strictly necessary for using your card, you’ll want to activate your card PIN if you travel abroad or you want to take out a cash advance. Your PIN works as an additional layer of security to keep your account safe.
  3. Download the provider app. Most providers offer a mobile app to help you manage your account on the go. You can view your balance, make changes to your account preferences, and even check or redeem rewards from some apps.
  4. Check out your card benefits and features. Log in to your provider account to re-review your card’s rates and fees, as well as the card’s bonus perks and features. These features are often quite valuable and can help you make the most of your new card. Mastercards tend to feature a variety of unique benefits independent from those offered by your provider as well. You can find these features in the Mastercard guide to benefits you receive with your card.
  5. Start earning rewards. Depending on the type of Mastercard you have, you’ll want to make sure you use your card when buying purchases that earn you extra cash back or points. What type of reward you get and any limitations depends on your provider and type of card. These details are also listed on your provider account.
  6. Redeem your points. After you’ve done some spending, you can start looking at your redemption options. Cashback cards can only redeem on statement credits typically, but cards that earn points or miles often have more options. You can check out our guide for more information on how to best spend your points.

Bottom line

You can activate all Mastercard credit cards the same way you would activate any other card — by phone, online or through a company’s mobile app if available. If you end up looking for a top-rated secondary credit card to compliment your newly activated Mastercard, remember to compare your options.

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