10 Dos & Don’ts for Young Credit Card Users
Responsible use of a credit card is one of the ways young adults can establish good credit. On the flip side, using credit cards irresponsibly is one of the quickest ways to damage a fledgling credit score. Whether you’re a young person with your first credit card or a parent deciding if your child is ready for one , here are some “Dos and Don’ts” to help young credit card holders be successful.
Become an Authorized User – Ease into credit card use by becoming an authorized user on a parent’s account. You’ll have a card with your name on it, but the bills will go to your parent(s), which means you’ll need to keep spending under control or face the consequences.
Find the Right Card – Do your research to find a credit card that has no annual fee, a low interest rate and a low credit limit to help keep spending in check.
Pay Off the Balance Every Month – Start this habit now and stick to it. Once you let a balance roll over into the next month, it’s too easy to keep doing it.
Learn How to Read Your Statement – Familiarize yourself with these common credit card terms, what they mean and how they affect your finances.
Opt Out of Pre-screened Offers – Minimize the temptation to open more than one credit card by opting out of pre-screened offers at optoutprescreen.com
Open More Than One Card – The more cards you have, the more temptation there is to ‘buy now, pay later’ and overspend. Stick with one manageable card for now.
Let Others Use Your Card – Never lend your card to friends or charge purchases for them. If you do and they don’t pay you back, the creditor doesn’t care. You’re stuck with the bill no matter what.
Charge Frivolous Things – It might feel great to throw down your card and take care of dinner or drinks for your group, but it won’t feel so good when you get the bill later.
Make Late Payments – It’s the single biggest thing you can to damage your score. Always, always pay your bills on time – make it easy by setting up auto-pay.
Forget to Check Your Credit Report – Once you have credit, you also have a credit report, which you should check at least once a year at annualcreditreport.com (it’s free!).