After a long hiatus…here is the next topic to be covered on 2MF: Credit Cards. This is the first in a three-part series discussing the different types of credit cards, the fine print, and how to effectively use a credit card. In part one, I’ll discuss the different types of cards available if you’re just beginning to build your credit.
(Due to video problems, the episode has been translated into text below)
One of the most important first steps you can take in your financial life is to start building your credit with a credit card. I’ll tell you how to do that, coming up right now in this episode of 2MinuteFinance.
Whether you’re in college, just graduated, or just never had one before, a credit card is a good first step to take to building your credit history. If you were brought up to pay cash for everything and never incur debt, think about this: it will take you a whole lot longer and put you at a distinct disadvantage when it comes time to buying your that new house or car.
Without any prior history, the best cards to look for are a secured card or a student card.
With a secured card, you give the lender a certain amount of money upfront as collateral, and in turn, the credit card lender will give you a card with a similar limit. The money you put upfront will help to guarantee that if you fail to make a payment, the lender can take your deposit and use it to cover their losses.
Another type of card is a student card, often marketed during on-campus events or through the mail. These cards are not necessarily the best cards available on the market, but often times have looser criteria for qualifying. In some cases, lenders may ask for your parents to co-sign, or take joint responsibility, in order for you to get a card.
Once you’ve decided on the type of card that works best, you need to shop around for a card that fits you. Sites like BankRate.com can help you do comparison shopping.
Once you’ve picked the exact card, its important not to get discouraged if you get turned down. It’s the classic Catch-22. You need credit to get credit, but you can’t get credit if you have no credit history. Instead of repeatedly applying, take a look at gas cards or department store cards. They’re oftentimes easier to qualify for and can help you along the road to getting your first credit card.
In our next installment of the credit card series, we’ll talk about the most important part of a credit card, the fine print. For more information and resources, check out my website at 2MinuteFinance.com. In San Francisco, I’m Bobby Lee for 2MinuteFinance.
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