Are you a young adult looking to get your first credit card but feeling overwhelmed by all the information?

Don’t worry – getting a credit card for the first time is straightforward if you know what to look for.

In this blog post, we’ll walk through all the crucial steps involved in selecting, signing up for, and managing an initially low-limit credit card.

Please keep reading to learn how to find the right starter credit card and get it fast!

Simple Steps to Get Your First Credit Card

Getting the first credit card is an important financial decision, and there are some things you need to know before you apply.

This involves researching different cards to find the best one and ensuring you can afford the monthly payments.

You’ll also need to provide your social security number and proof of income.

Follow these steps, and you’ll be on your way to getting a credit card!

1. Check your credit score

One of the key components to obtaining a credit card is a particular credit score.

If you are new to credit cards, your credit score will likely be zero or nonexistent.

In any case, checking your credit score will help you better understand the type of card you may be eligible for.

Fortunately, checking your credit score is straightforward – many companies offer free access and provide helpful information about understanding your score.

With free credit scoring services, such as Credit Karma or Experian, you can get a copy of your credit score and learn what factors influence it.

Why is it important

Your credit score paints a picture of your financial history and helps lenders decide whether or not to extend you access to their products and services.

A good credit score shows that you’ve managed your money responsibly, while a low score could mean that you present more risk as someone who may miss payments or become delinquent on debts.

When it comes time to apply for a credit card, having a good understanding of your financial history can make the process much smoother since you can inform lenders of any challenges during the application process.

It’s important to know what range your score falls into to be approved for a card and which offers may be best for you.

2. Compare credit card offers

With so many options, it’s important to take the time to compare different cards and determine which one is the best fit for your financial needs and lifestyle.

Fortunately, a few helpful resources are available online, making comparing credit cards more accessible.

You can compare multiple cards side by side based on interest rates, annual fees, rewards programs, balance transfer capabilities, and other helpful information.

Take advantage of these resources to make an informed decision about which card is right for you.

3. Choose a credit card that fits your needs

It is time to review the available cards and choose one that best fits your lifestyle and financial needs.

Choosing a credit card tailored to you will result in responsible use and management of debt, allowing you to become an informed consumer while enjoying all the rewards of owning a credit card.

When considering which credit card is right, consider the following elements.


One of the most important things to consider is the Annual Percentage Rate (APR).

It is an interest rate applied to any balance carried from one billing cycle to the next and can be fixed or variable.

A higher rate will mean more money spent on paying interest over time, so it should be understood before signing up for a new card.

Annual fee

It is always wise to compare offers, as some cards offer low-to-zero annual fees, which still allow you to reap all of the benefits of owning a credit card without paying additional fees annually.

Opting for a zero or low annual fee credit card when applying for one the first time is beneficial.

Foreign transaction fees

Depending on the issuer, a foreign transaction fee may be charged anytime you purchase in a foreign currency while traveling abroad.

Before settling on your first card, check if foreign transaction fees are applied so that there aren’t any surprises when you pay your bill.

These fees can damper an otherwise seamless vacation experience and should be considered before committing to a card.


Many credit cards offer cash-back on purchases, airline miles, discounts on monthly bills, hotel stays, and much more.

Therefore, it is important to research the type of rewards program that works best for you and the company offering it.

Try to decide what type of reward would be most beneficial in the long run, and don’t forget to read the terms and conditions thoroughly before making a decision.

Most importantly, ensure you are comfortable with all aspects of the credit card so you can enjoy your new rewards without complications.

Intro or limited-time bonuses

Many credit cards offer incentives like waived annual fees, reduced interest rates, or cash-back rewards if you meet specific spending criteria in a certain period.

Doing so can help you get more value out of having your credit card and could even allow you to save money over time.

To be secured or not secured

It’s essential to understand the differences between a secured credit card and a not secured credit card when you’re applying for a new credit card.

Secured cards need a security deposit, unlike traditional credit cards.

They are the best option for those who have had difficulty obtaining unsecured credit due to their bad or limited credit history.

Secured cards have other benefits, such as higher limits and a lower APR than non-secured cards, but it’s important to read the fine print carefully so you know what you’re signing up for.

Ultimately, secured cards allow those with low or no credit history to build credit.

4. Fill out the credit card application

paper application form

Applying for the first credit card requires you to fill out an application that generally requires some personal information, including your name, address, and phone number.

In addition, it usually requires you to include your income, employment status, and financial obligations such as rent, mortgages, and student loans.

It’s important to review the form before submitting it to ensure that all the information provided is accurate and up-to-date so that the application process can be smoother for those handling it.

Credit history and credit report are also essential to be reviewed before applying.

Checking and keeping track of any documents related to your finances will help make sure that you are providing all the necessary information required by credit card issuers.

5. Wait for approval

By now, you should have filled out a form with personal financial information and submitted it to the credit card company.

The time typically takes to be approved for a credit card can range from just minutes up to 3-4 weeks maximum.

Depending on credit card companies, you may receive further details at this stage informing you of their decision or requesting additional information before they can give their final decision.

It is always important to ensure that you provide as many accurate details as possible, as any discrepancies between application information and credit reports may lengthen the approval process.

6. Activate your new credit card

Activating your new credit card is straightforward.

Generally, you will receive an email or potentially a letter from your issuer containing detailed information about the activation process.

Make sure to check for any unexpected additional documents that need to be filled out and sent back before the card can be activated.

To begin the activation process, call the toll-free number provided or visit the company website to enter a code found in these documents.

Once you have completed your activation process, you should receive a message indicating that the new card is active and ready to use!

7. Start using your new credit card responsibly

When you get your first credit card, it’s important to use it responsibly.

Using your card responsibly allows you to gain financial freedom and opens up opportunities for the future, like accessing loans or getting better interest rates.

Taking proper care of your card is the best way to ensure you can enjoy its benefits for years to come.

You can do that by following these tips.

Make on-time payments

Maintaining on-time payments is essential for a healthy credit score when owning a credit card.

Positive payment history accounts for one-third of a person’s overall score and pays dividends down the road when needing to buy a car or house on credit.

Without making on-time payments, customers can face costly late fees, delinquency notations on their credit reports, and even having their accounts closed due to nonpayment.

Therefore, if you are considering getting a credit card, be sure that you understand that on-time payments will be your responsibility and necessary to maintain good standing with creditors.

Setting up automatic payments can help ensure your bill is paid on time each month and avoid incurring any late payment fees.

Keep credit card account balance low

Keeping the account balance low means spending within your credit limit to ensure you do not run up too high of a debt that can become difficult to manage.

Other benefits of maintaining a lower credit card balance include improved credit score, leading to more credit available in the future, and avoiding excessive interest rates.

Set a budget

Developing a spending budget is an important step that should not be overlooked.

Setting a budget helps track your expenses and ensure spending stays within that allotted budget limit.

Additionally, it assists in budgeting each month for necessary expenses while being aware of future payments so that they can be planned for when they come due.

Furthermore, having a budget in place will help to prevent the temptation of overspending with the card.

Keeping up with a solid spending budget allows you to stay organized and keeps money matters under control.

Many tools can help you budget, including smartphone apps or online tools.

Being good at managing finances will cause your credit score to benefit as well as minimizes debt overall.

Check the monthly statement

Knowing your credit card usage is critical to utilizing a credit card responsibly.

By checking your monthly statement, you can stay on top of your purchases and ensure that all charges are accurate.

While some people may not enjoy the extra step of reviewing their monthly expenses, these regularly scheduled payments offer an opportunity to create good financial habits with greater control of spending.

Understanding how much you owe helps identify troubling trends early so that changes in spending habits or budgeting strategies can be implemented regardless of income level.

Keeping an eye on credit card transactions also reduces the chances of identity theft or other fraudulent activity.

How Do I Get a Credit Card If I Have No Credit History?

If you’re looking to build a credit history but don’t yet qualify for a traditional credit card, there are options you can explore.

One mechanism for building credit is to become an authorized user on someone else’s account.

This involves having another person who has already established a good credit score put your name on their existing credit card.

As long as they make payments on a timely basis and ensure that the notices of activity are sent to you, your authorized account usage will also reflect positively on your score.

It can help jumpstart the process of establishing yourself as an independent credit consumer in the eyes of lenders.

What Is the Easiest Credit Card to Get for the First Time?

If you’re new to credit and looking to establish your credit profile, starter credit cards are the easiest route.

Starter cards have less stringent requirements for eligibility so that many first-time applicants can be approved.

These starter cards typically come with lower limits and may not offer a variety of features, but they provide an easy entry point into the world of credit.

Also, starter cards may offer exclusive rewards and benefits tailored toward students or those in lower income brackets.

It is important to research before applying for any starter card to ensure that it meets your financial needs.

Your New Credit Card Awaits

Applying for a credit card can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be.

By following the simple steps about how to get a credit card for the first time, you can confidently apply for it and start building your credit history.

If you want to start somewhere, check out these best credit cards for young adults or the best credit cards for 18-year-olds.

With some research and preparation, getting your first credit card is easy and rewarding!