5 Tips You Can Learn From Your First Credit Card

January 5, 2018 | Brenda Link

A young woman with a Mission Fed Classic Credit Card.

Keep your credit score looking good by following these first credit card tips. When it comes to your first credit card, don’t make mistakes and harm your credit from the start—establish good credit with a Mission Federal Credit Union Credit Card. You can even apply for our lowest introductory rate credit card online with 0% Introductory APR for 12 months on purchases and balance transfers posted within the first 90 days of a New Mission Fed Mastercard Platinum or Preferred Platinum Credit Card Account opening.

After that, your standard APR for Preferred Platinum Credit Cards will be 9.90% for purchases and 11.90% for balance transfers; and for Platinum Credit Cards, 11.90% for purchases and 13.90%13.90% for balance transfers, based on creditworthiness. The balance transfer fee is either $2 or 2% of the amount of each transaction, whichever is greater.

Plus you’ll get 10,000 Bonus Mission Rewards points for those who have at least $1,000 in purchases that post within 90 days of the Credit Card Account opening.

Remember these 5 credit card tips to help you manage your credit wisely and build good credit from the start.

1. Credit is not free money.

Remember that you have to pay back whatever you spend, plus interest. While credit can be very helpful and it’s good to build your credit history, make sure you know what your interest rate is and how payments work before you begin using your credit card for purchases or a cash advance. Impulse spending can get you in over your head, but careful spending habits can benefit you for a long time.

2. Credit can help when emergencies arise.

When you get your first credit card, you may not have had time to save up an emergency fund in your Checking Account. Thankfully, a credit card can be helpful for sudden, unanticipated costs. You can use your first credit card to cover these costs, and then pay it off as soon as you can. You’ll be grateful to have your credit card as an option when you need it.

3. Pay more than the minimum payment to build a positive credit history.

To build good credit with your first credit card, make regular, timely credit card payments in full if possible, or at least above the minimum payment amount. If you only pay the minimum, you’ll notice your credit card balance may not go down as quickly because you’re mostly paying interest and very little principal. Pay as much over the minimum as you can, and pay it off as quickly as possible to keep your credit score up and build a positive credit history. You can also take advantage of rewards programs like Mission Rewards, where you can earn 1 point for every dollar you spend on qualified purchases—now that’s smart spending!

4. When you spend smart, using credit can really pay off!

When you use your first credit card wisely, you’re setting yourself up for a positive credit history and good credit score from the start. This can help you get better interest rates, terms and premiums when it comes to new credit cards or insurance down the road. A positive credit history can also help you in other aspects of your life. Since loan providers, financial institutions and even landlords review your credit history before deciding if you’re a good investment, you’ll benefit in more ways than one from a good credit score. As a responsible credit user, you’ll be happy to discover more options are available to you when applying for a Home or Auto Loan.

5. Be thoughtful when applying for new lines of credit.

Be choosy when applying for new credit cards. When you apply for a new card, it checks your credit report and can lower your score slightly, so applying for several new credit cards at the same time could reflect poorly on your score and make creditors wonder if you’re responsible. Stick with your first credit card until you’re in the habit of using credit responsibly, then choose your next card thoughtfully. Setting up smart spending habits from the start will help you in the long run!

Whether you’re about to apply for your first credit card or considering applying for one with no annual fee, a lower rate or better perks, remember these tips and spend responsibly to enjoy all the benefits of smart credit habits. Aim to use less than 30 percent of your available credit at any given time, pay your balance off as soon as possible and pay every bill on time. If you can follow these first credit card tips, you’re helping to set yourself up for positive credit history!

Offer is good for new Credit Cards with Mission Fed. Balance transfers are for non-Mission Fed Credit Cards. Introductory APR will apply on purchases and balance transfers posted within the first 90 days of account opening, ending on the closing date of the first billing cycle after the account is open 12 months. APRs are current as of 1/5/18. In order for your balance transfer to qualify for the 0% APR promotion, you must conduct the balance transfer by using a Cashier’s Check issued by a Mission Fed Branch or the Contact Center. Electronic balance transfers do not qualify. The balance transfer and cash advance fee is 2% of the amount of each item ($2 minimum). The foreign transaction fee is 1% of the amount of each transaction in U.S. Dollars. Maximum $20,000 in balance transfers per member. The 10,000 Mission Rewards points will be awarded one time for the first $1,000 in purchases that post within 90 days of opening the account, and will be credited approximately 120 days after account opening. This offer cannot be combined with other Mission Rewards points promotions. Certain restrictions may apply. All loans are subject to approval. Programs, rates, terms, conditions and services are subject to change without notice. Mastercard and the Mastercard Brand Mark are registered trademarks of Mastercard International, Inc. 1/18

The content provided in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for informational purposes only. Mission Federal Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided. References to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name in this article by Mission Federal Credit Union is for the information and convenience of its readers and does not constitute endorsement, control or warranty by Mission Federal Credit Union.

Brenda Link

Brenda Link

Brenda Link is VP of Card Services and ATM Management for Mission Federal Credit Union. She has over 25 years of financial experiences that include Retail Banking, Merchant Services, Lending, Credit Card Operations and ATM Administration.

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