I want to apply for my first credit card. What should I look for?

By , CardRatings contributor
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Question: I want to apply for my first credit card. What should I look for?

Answer: First of all check your credit report and score from annualreport.com. This is the only source for getting a free credit report, and you can get one from each of the three credit bureaus once per year. Check your report for any errors to insure maximum potential for getting credit.

Next determine why you are getting the credit card and what benefits you would like to see. Are you looking for just a general card or would you like a rewards program attached. If you want rewards, what kind? If you will be using your card mostly to buy gas, insure you get one that maximizes gas purchases. If you travel a lot, get one that benefits travel.

Find out the interest rate after the introductory period and the default rate in case you cannot make a payment. If you will be transferring balances, determine the transfer fee. Check if there is an annual fee.

You will want to be sure to apply for a credit card that is geared towards people with limited or no credit unless you have other lines of credit reporting to the three major credit bureaus.


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