What kind of credit card should I sign up for? (it's my 18th bday, by the way)

Discussion in 'Community' started by johnbro23, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. johnbro23 macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Hey, I went to the bank today thinking I could get a credit card, but they said the one they offered didn't qualify for me since I have no credit history yet. It wasn't a wasted trip, though; I signed up for a checking acount and got a debit card.

    So do you have any suggestions as to which card to get? I have plenty of money, so being able to pay off bills isn't a problem for me.

    Whats APR? (like when they say you have 3.99% APR on balance transfers... I have no idea what that means)

    I see many card companies have student cards... is that only for broke students? So would I fit into that category?

    Is there anything I should be looking out for? Like hidden charges? Possible rewards, like my mom gets 1% back on her capitol one card.

    I wish there was one easy answer... can anyone narrow it down for me? Like tell me which specific card you would recommend for me.

    Thanks for your help :)
  2. revisionA macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2005
    I wholeheartedly say, no credit cards at all!

    The banks have all us adults under their thumbs, and credit cards and mortgages are how they do it.

    Save up money and only spend what you have.

    Get a debit card and a checking account. Make sure they have the visa logo and offer fraud protection of some kind.

    Do not use a debit card to sign up for a porn site or any other shady transaction.

    Trust me, its old sounding advice, but at 31 do you want to start paying 500 bucks a month for 10 years to pay off cards you ran up with stuff you dont even have anymore (had 3 cards in college).

    Ask your dad, he'll probably almost quote the above.

    Annual Percentage Rate, that 3.99 is only temporary, then it goes up to 15.9, 18.9 or higher. You end up paying more for everything you buy in the end, because of interest.

    Banks like people to be in debt, they make more money when you pay the minimum payment for years and years and never pay the cards off. If you cant pay the cards and ignore them, collection agencies can BOTH raise your APR to 29% or so, and charge you for thier "services" which include letters, phone calls and umm raising the amount you owe to HUGE!

    Good luck,

  3. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    If you don't know what the APR is you are not ready for a credit card! If you get a card don't use it unless you need to use it. Just by having a card and not using it you will get a credit rating (or use it for a few small things and pay it off straight away).

    APR = Annual Percentage Rate. It's one way of stating the interest rate that purchases on the card will incur.
  4. revisionA macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2005
    THere is nothing to deliniate a bank card and a secured bank card.

    If you must use a visa to help your credit, put 500 aside, and get a secured card, that holds on to your 500 and gives you small small interest on it. If you ever default (dont pay) on the card, they use your 500 to pay it off.


    Build your credit by getting a car loan and paying it off early. The interest is less, you need a car probably, and it will still help your credit just as much as a visa will.

    Banks will send you card applications like crazy, because they want you in debt.

    I am the head of accounting for a multimillion dollar publisher, this is not coming from someone who makes under 50,000 a year and struggles to get by.

    Respect your credit like you would a good woman, use your head and dont commit to anything you dont understand!!!!

  5. johnbro23 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I have a $4,000 checking account and a $5,000 CD and $5,000 of Apple stock. My only big purchase in the next 2 years will be a PB and Cinema Display. Other than that I'm not worried about not being able to pay off a bill.

    So if I pay off all my bills, I don't even have to worry about what the APR is?

    Edit: and if APR isn't an issue for me, then does it even matter what card I get? Will I even get approved for a card with rewards? Because if not, then that should make picking a card all that easier.
  6. eva01 macrumors 601


    Feb 22, 2005
    Gah! Plymouth
    you do not have a lot of money at all. Do not get a credit card, i have yet to get one and i am 20 even thou i have a lot more money than you do and could pay off a credit card easily i don't get one because i would eeventually go in debt. Just get a job, pay for college, buy your powerbook and monitor in cash (which i did, no need for credit card) and be happy with your life

    I have two debit cards and will never get a credit card
  7. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    Yes, in theory but no, in practice. Take the time to learn more about APRs and how they work in the card you look for - some offer a 50 day interest free period if you pay off completely each month, others start charging interest from the day you buy etc

    Very few people intend to not pay off their credit cards when they first get them but as time goes on, and you decide that you want to go on that trip to Europe or your stereo dies and you need a new one but you don't quite have the cash, you'll put it on that credit card and if it's got a lousy interest rate, then you're going to pay for a long time. I understand why you want one - the purchase protection they give is also useful quite apart from improving your credit store - but I'd advise not using it much.
  8. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    the only credit card are good for is for stuff on line!!

    and for an big problems like my car broke down in a bad part of a big city, Never be like "o i have a 1.8 ghz iMac rev A but teh rev b came out lets go spend a 2k i don't really have. on a new mac i reallt don't need"
  9. revisionA macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2005
    Its good that you arent broke now. But buy what you NEED cash, dont get credit for what you want.

    If you buy a g5 duallie with the frills on credit and dont pay it off immediately, it starts becoming more expensive to you through interest while it depreciates (loses value) because new things come out pretty regularly.

    Credit card interest is not simple interest, its compound.

    $1000 at 18% apr acrues $15 in interest per month.

    Minimum payments are usually 4% with the newest laws I heard of. So they would want you to pay 4% of the balance, or 4% of 1015 or $41 approx.

    So you think you are winning, but...

    1015 - 41 = 974
    974 plus interest is 989 - 41 = 948
    948 plus interest is 962 - 40 = 922

    you see in 3 months, your 122 in payments only reduces the balance by 78 bucks. It doesnt seem like much, but it magically makes one in four payments go to pure interest. And this is a really small amount for credit purposes. 1.015 times principal used to acrue interest. Try that with 5000 in credit and a wonderful bunch of new stuff being released daily to tempt you...

    Keep that up while adding more purchases and you can see how you might never be able to pay it off with just what they recommend.
  10. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    None.... unless your parents co-sign it because if not your going to end up in bankruptcy
  11. revisionA macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2005
    And you cant do bankruptcy like in the 90s ... the newest laws force you to pay something on your debts, making bankruptcy not just the last option but in fact, credit counseling in disguise.
  12. Koodauw macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2003
    Forget the ney sayers.

    A credit card can be a very good way to build a good and solid credit history. As long as you can youse it responisbly, it can benefit you greatly. I would check out Citi Bank, and espcially their rewards card. They have alot of protection as well.

    Credit cards aren't the evil everyone here makes them out to be.
  13. revisionA macrumors 6502

    May 27, 2005
    Its consumerism thats evil.

    You cant always get what you want...

    Where did that go?

  14. xsedrinam macrumors 601


    Oct 21, 2004
    1 - Happy Birthday
    2 - Don't go that route, yet.
    3 - If you want plastic money, Look at Debit Card options to take baby steps in to establishing credit before plunging in to the life style of a "debt economy".
    4 - Learn and read up on the principles of earning, saving and investing along with your spending needs.
    5 - Employed? "Yes" - proceed. "No" - Get a job, first.
    Best of luck to you.
  15. strider42 macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2002
    Despite what some people say, I think having a credit card is a great idea, so long as you are careful with it. Establishing a credit line builds credit history. the longer you have credit, the better. When you go for a loan latter in life, a long credit history, total credit vs. debt (that is, what's you credit line vs. how much you owe on the cards), all help. plus, if you get to know it, they are very good cash flow managers (buy a week before you get paid, still pay it off without incurring interest charges).

    The key to credit card use is to treat it as cash. Never buy anything you can't afford to pay off immediately.

    As for which card to get, get one with some kind of rewards. I have the chase perfect card, whcih gives me a non-tiered 1% back on everything, and 3 % back on gas. Some cards offer a higher rate, but its tiered so that you get a fraction of a % back until you get over a certain threshhold of spending.

    Airline mileage cards are cool too. but I prefer the cash. its not necessarily a lot of money back, but over the course of the year, its a nice little bonus.

    I also have a discover card and they aren't bad.

    You may be limited because you don't have a credit history. If you ahve to start with a student card, that's OK. they work exactly the same, its just that they ahve a lower limit and probably little no rewards programs. My first card was a student card. Still ahve it in fact, though I don't use it much.

    Your bank probably issues credit cards too. You can try them. note that ATM cards with a VISA symbol are NOT credit cards. They don't build your credit history one iota. Plus, if someone stole that, you have to get the bank to put the money back. I prefer credit cards because they have to get the money from me. So If I disagree with a charge, I can withhold payment until I'm satisfied. Plus I don't like the idea of using something at stores that is directly tied to my bank accounts (which is why my savings account isn't tied to my debit card, only my checking, whcih I keep a lot less money in).

    There are thousands of cards out there, and soem websites that have decent information that can help you narrow it down. Decide what you want out of a card and then apply for the one you want.

    Some more words of advice: at your age, you may get constant credit line icnreases. This is because they want you to spend beyond your means. Resist a higher credit line until you know you need it.

    Don't use the checks they send you. Money spent with those checks starts getting charged high interest rates immediately.

    Don't get a bunch of cards and then cancel them. That hurts your credit rating too. Keep one card, maybe get a second later in life if you need to for whatever reason. Establish a long credit history and ALWAYS, ALWAYS pay your bill in full at the end of the month. Otherwise you are throwing away money.
  16. lopresmb macrumors 6502

    Apr 29, 2005
    the kind that won't get you into debt...

    start a checking account at a bank and get a visa check card, works just like a credit card, but simply takes money from your checking account, therefore you can't but what you don't have the money for, it'll help in the long run.
  17. AppleMatt macrumors 68000


    Mar 17, 2003
    If you always pay it off you can make it work for you;

    - Good credit history
    - Some cards offer annual cashback (typically 0.5-2%)
    - Freebies (cheap watches and the like)

  18. CorvusCamenarum macrumors 65816


    Dec 16, 2004
    Birmingham, AL
    1. Don't go applying for a card everywhere. Every time someone other than you runs your credit report, it lowers it by about 5 points. Look on the web for places that specialize in giving cards to people with bad or no credit history. Get your credit report with your FICO score first and once a year, even if it's blank, so you know where you stand.

    2. Don't go credit card happy and open multiple accounts. Get *ONE* (1). The more accounts you have open, the less appealing you look to future creditors when it comes time to buy things that matter, such as a car loan or a mortgage.

    3. Only buy what you need (gas, groceries, etc) and pay off all but a tiny minimum ($10 or so) every month. Be as anal as possible about getting the payment in on time.

    4. READ THE FINE PRINT. The big print giveth and the fine print taketh away.

    5. I noticed your age. Are you about to leave for college soon? Living on or off campus? Most companies want a real physical address, no P.O. boxes. Wait until you've lived and worked in the same places for six months. On a related note, if you're in school, run away from those tables they set up offering a free gift if you apply.

    6. Others have expounded on APRs, so I won't rehash that, except to say you want the lowest possible rate you can get. Since you have no positive credit history yet, expect to pay more. Ignore the 0% introductory rate teasers, you probably can't qualify for them yet. Do look for grace periods to reduce interest payments. Fraud protection is a must.
  19. nsutt22 macrumors regular


    May 5, 2005
    i am 18 and have a credit card and i just use it for building up good credit... i want good credit when i will need it later. i would rather start building it now then later, as long as u pay it aaint no thang haha
  20. killuminati macrumors 68020


    Dec 6, 2004
    I don't understand why so many people here think it's a bad idea to get a card.

    My Dad got me a Visa when I was 13 to teach me how to use it responsibly and pay off bills right away (well thats what he said). I always pay my full bill on time and I doubt I will ever be in debt.

    I say just get a plain Visa, without any kid of rewards or anything.
  21. johnbro23 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Apr 12, 2004
    Pittsburgh, PA
    OK, this is kind of frustrating...

    I tried applying for American Express Blue Cash, Blue, and Blue for students and none of them would accept me. I have no credit history (obviously, because I just turned 18). The student card wanted me to have been accepted to college already, so thats not me.

    Now I'm moving on to Visa to see if I can get a card there. But when you click apply, theres a list of about a thousand "card providers". What the heck does that mean?

    And by the way, I've decided a CC is the way to go... I mostly want it for convenience, and I'm very conscious (sp) about how much money I spend.
  22. nsutt22 macrumors regular


    May 5, 2005
    AMEX is good, but not accepted everywhere... better security i believe others may no better
  23. ejb190 macrumors 65816


    ...who managed get hacked and lose a whole bunch of customers' account information (including mine). Sorry - minor rant.

    There is a lot of valid advice here. The secret to using a credit is to NEVER carry a ballance. One month I goofed and wrote my check for one cent less then I owed. That one cent resulted in $0.58 in fees and interest payments. You don't get rich by letting yourself get nickled and dimed with unnecessary finance and interest charges.

    Credit cards are a good backup, but shouldn't be used for a main form of payment, espically for people of limited incomes or tight budgets, for the following reasons:
    1. It's too easy to rack up finance and service charges - and that is what the credit card companies want you to do, as that's how they make their money.
    2. When you pay cash you think twice about handing that cashier a Franklin and if what your are buying is worth it.
    3. If you have $20 in your pocket, that's all you have to spend. Credit cards empower you to cheat on your budget

    And read the fine print. It might start as 3.8%, but I bet it goes up to 18% or 21% really fast.

    Sorry - I really get on a rant about personal finances. I see way too many people who get themselves in serious trouble that could have been avoided.
  24. strider42 macrumors 65816


    Feb 1, 2002
    Sounds like you want to maybe look into a secured credit card. basically, you front them money to secure the credit line. Note that this is different than a debit card, because you still pay the card off every month and it will build your credit rating (a debit card won't). If you cancel that card, you'd get that money you fronted back.
  25. mrdeep macrumors member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Hm, I think that MBNA actually offered me my visa card when i was 18-ish, i think capital one is pretty easy to get a card from, not really sure though.

    I am also pro-credit card. I got one when i went to college 5 years ago and I use it to pay for everything I can. For me, it wasn't about spending more money than I had, it was about having an easier way to spend money, I've always used it more like a debit card.

    Try to pay your balance in full every month, that's what I did.

    I currently have a friend who forgot to deposit his paycheck and thus has a $4 balance in his checking account. If he had a credit card, he'd be all set but he never got one because he figured he'd be fine with just a debit card.

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