At this point, you probably know what a credit card is. You might also know how to apply for one. It has gotten a lot easier in recent years, actually. And by now, you should know why you need a credit card. The only question is when should you get a credit card?
Because you can always apply for one anytime you want, but you won’t always get one or you won’t need one at the moment. So when’s the best time to get a credit card? Luckily, you have lots of opportunities to choose from. Check out your options below.
When You Have Carded Parents
Believe it or not, you can get a credit card even if you’re under 18 years old. How? By asking your carded parents to get you a supplementary credit card. Owning a supplementary card is the best way to start learning about credit at an early age. Your parents can even help you become a more responsible cardholder in the future, aside from paying the credit card bill.
When You Get Your First Job
Now that you’re part of the workforce, it’s best to get started with your credit card journey. You’ll definitely need to build a credit history as early as now. A 2019 report from Experian found that 4% of American millennials already achieved perfect credit scores, which means it won’t take a lifetime for you to achieve a good credit history. You can always get a low-income credit card to get you started and build your way up from there.
When You’re Trying to Apply for a Loan
While it’s true that you don’t need a credit card to establish a credit history, it will be easier if you have one. If you can prove to loan providers that you are responsible when it comes to paying back your credit card bills and other payments, your chances of loan approval will increase. That’s a good thing if you’re planning to buy a home or a vehicle through loans. So before you apply for a loan, practice managing a credit card first.
When You’re Planning to Travel
Planning to travel the world for leisure or business? You’ll definitely need a credit card to pay for your various expenses. You can’t always rely on cash especially when you’re traveling abroad, unless you want to take frequent visits to the local money changer. The advantage of having a credit card is that you can avail various travel perks, ranging from free air miles to discounted foreign exchange fees.
When You Have a Tight Budget
When should you get a credit card? When you’re trying to follow a strict budget. After all, it’s easier to consolidate all your expenses in one major payment a month. You can even set a spending limit to prevent you from overspending. To maximize your credit card usage further, get yourself a cashback credit card that earns you some of your money back on specific purchases. See, credit cards can be beneficial, too.
When You’re Starting a Business
Starting a business isn’t simple. You’ll need time, manpower, and lots of money. And since you can easily get access to the first two, the third one can get tricky. So why not use a credit card for your business? It can help you separate your personal expenses from business expenses and it can serve as a temporary funding source for emergency expenses. Plus, it earns you more financial perks that will help your business in the long run.
So when should you get a credit card? It depends on your current financial situation. Make sure you’re getting a credit card at the right time and not out of impulse. And remember that owning one doesn’t grant you access to all the money in the world. Every swipe comes with a price, so use your credit card wisely.
This article first appeared in The Manila Times.