3 must read first credit card tips before you apply | finder.com
How to apply for your first credit card

How to apply for your first credit card

Your first credit card can be the gateway to building your credit and will expand your financial options.

Credit cards are needed for simple transactions like reserving a hotel room or making a long-term purchase. But more importantly, you need a credit card simply to establish a credit history. You need to use your credit card wisely to keep a good credit history, as it will be a determining factor of approval for personal and home loan applications.

Deserve® Classic Card

A great choice for your first card: Deserve Classic

If you have no credit history or FICO score, the Deserve Classic Mastercard offers the perks of a credit card without having to jump through hoops for approval.

  • $39 annual fee
  • No security deposit required
  • Credit limit up to $1,500

    Tips for applying for your first credit card

    Will you be using your credit card to make everyday purchases? Will your payment habits affect if you make timely payments or not? Do you need a credit card with a rewards program? Once you figure out what you’re looking for, you can apply for your first credit card.

    Understanding that credit cards are a great responsibility, there are factors to consider:

    • Job stability. Banks and financial institutions screen your qualifications before granting you a credit card, including your job’s stability as well as your salary.
    • Credit history. If you have a previous credit history, banks will check on your standing to set a credit limit and confirm you’ll be able to handle repayments .
    • Personal and financial information. Banks and financial institutions also require you to submit specific documents for your application. Unfortunately for people with no credit history, this can be somewhat challenging as many banks will not want to take a chance on a credit newcomer. An option is to start off with a secured credit card to get your credit history rolling.

    If you ever wanted to be able to apply for a personal loan or a home loan, you can do so much easier by applying for a credit card as your initial step.

    first credit card applcation

    What are the options for my first credit card?

    • I’m a student.

      Many credit card companies offer a first credit card for students. These cards will probably have a low limit to help ensure that you do not overspend.

    • I don’t want to change banks.

      Your current bank more than likely has a credit card they offer to their customers. It may require that you keep at least one open account as long as you have the credit card.

    • I regularly shop at the same stores.

      Department stores and chains also offer credit cards. Be sure to compare these store cards carefully, as they could have high interest rates.


    Choose from various types of credit cards and take advantage of offered features.

    These are the main types of credit card features that you’ll need to consider with a first credit card application:

    Keep in mind that these features would differ from one financial institution to another. Compare each feature first before you make up your mind for the appropriate credit card.

    If you are declined with your first credit card application, do not lose hope because you can identify why your credit card application was rejected and apply for it again.

    Compare credit cards

    Rates last updated April 21st, 2018
    Name Product APR for Purchases ( Purchase Rate ) Intro APR for Balance Transfer Annual fee Product Description
    Deserve® Classic Card
    Deserve® Classic Card
    24.24% variable
    $39
    Designed to help build credit history with no deposit required and access to benefits.
    Luxury Card Mastercard® Titanium Card™
    16.49% variable
    0% Intro APR for for the first 15 billing cycles (with whichever is greater: $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
    $195
    Enjoy unique excursions, privileged access to exclusive events and insider opportunities.
    Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card
    23.9% variable
    $75 annual fee for the first year ($0 to $99 thereafter)
    With this card you get a 23.9% variable APR.
    Barclaycard Ring™ Mastercard®
    10.49% variable
    $0
    A low, variable APR on purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.
    Barclaycard Arrival Plus® World Elite Mastercard®
    17.24%, 21.24% or 24.24% variable
    0% Intro APR for 12 months (with whichever is greater: $5 or 3% balance transfer fee)
    $0 annual fee for the first year ($89 thereafter)
    Enjoy 40000
    bonus miles after you spend on purchases in the first 90 days — that's enough to redeem for a $400 travel statement credit toward an eligible travel purchase.
    Credit One Bank® Visa® with Free Credit Score Tracking
    19.15% - 25.24% Variable
    $0 to $75 first year annual fee for the first year ($0 to $99 thereafter)
    Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchases including gas, groceries, and services such as mobile phone, internet, cable and satellite TV, terms apply.
    Credit One Bank® Unsecured Platinum Visa®
    19.15% - 25.24% variable
    $0 to $75 first year annual fee for the first year ($0 to $99 thereafter)
    Give your credit a boost with credit line increase opportunities, a fee may apply.
    The First Access VISA® Credit Card
    29.99% variable
    $75.00 for first year. After that, $48.00 annually.
    Access credit even if you have poor or limited credit history.
    Simmons Bank Visa® Platinum
    9.50% variable
    $0
    The Simmons Bank Visa® Platinum Card offers multiple perks, including one of the lowest available APRs on the market.
    Credit One Bank® Unsecured Visa® with Free Credit Score Tracking
    19.15% - 25.24% variable
    $0 to $75 first year annual fee for the first year ($0 to $99 thereafter)
    Get 1% cash back rewards on eligible purchase, terms apply.
    Simmons Bank Visa® Platinum Rewards
    11.50% variable
    $0
    Excellent Credit Required - Applicants that do not have excellent credit will not be approved

    Compare up to 4 providers

    Maintain your credit standing with your first credit card

    As we’ve stated, most peoples first credit card often establishes your credit history, so it important to pay attention to a few things.

    • Do not overspend and pay all of your bills on time.
    • Having a line of credit for a long period is good for your credit history, so keep your balance low and your payments regular.
    • Banks often give newcomers higher interest rates, so be aware of this and the long-term cost of carrying a balance. Once you have established a good credit history, see if you are eligible for an interest rate reduction or shop around for new card.

    When it comes to personal finance there are few things more important then the establishment of your first credit card. Being responsible with it is the key to your future credit rating.

    Kyle Morgan

    Kyle Morgan is a writer and editor for finder.com who has worked for the USA Today network and Relix magazine, among other publications. He can be found writing about everything from the latest car loan stats to tips on saving money when traveling overseas. He lives in Asbury Park, where he loves exploring new places and sipping on hoppy beer. Oh, and he doesn't discriminate against buffalo wings — grilled or fried are just fine.

    Was this content helpful to you? No  Yes

    Ask an Expert

    You are about to post a question on finder.com:

    • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
    • finder.com is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
    • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
    • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

    Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

    US Credit Card Offers

    Important Information*
    Deserve® Classic Card
    Deserve® Classic Card

    APR

    24.24
    variable

    Annual fee

    0 For the first year
    More info
    Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™
    Luxury Card Mastercard® Gold Card™

    APR

    16.49
    variable

    Annual fee

    0 For the first year
    More info
    The First Access VISA® Credit Card
    The First Access VISA® Credit Card

    APR

    29.99
    variable

    Annual fee

    75 For the first year
    More info
    Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card
    Indigo® Platinum Mastercard® Credit Card

    APR

    23.9
    variable

    Annual fee

    75 For the first year
    More info
    Go to site