Obtaining your first credit card is a significant accomplishment and adjustment. Even if you think you understand how credit cards operate and how to use one properly. There are a few pointers for credit beginners, whether you’re ripe at 18 (the least age necessary to receive a credit card) or in your late 20s and just starting out on your credit journey.
In order to get you started, the list of things to watch out for while applying for your first card is listed below. It will help you make an informed decision when applying for your credit card.
7 things you should know before getting a credit card in Nigeria
1. Your first credit card has the power to improve or damage your credit
Increasing your credit is one of the key benefits of getting your first credit card. However, if you’re not careful, it may have the opposite result. Everything is dependent on your actions.
Your issuer will submit information about your credit card use each month to credit bureaus, which are responsible for compiling the credit reports that serve as the foundation for credit scores. Whether your payments have been made on time and how much of your available credit you have used are among the reported details. Paying late is awful. The card shouldn’t be maxed out.
2. Never make purchases on a credit card that you won’t be able to pay off in full when the bill comes.
Your first error is charging something to your credit card that you genuinely cannot afford. You will eventually have to pay for that purchase, and when the bill arrives, it will affect your monthly spending plan.
Although you may be purchasing something great right now, you’re going to have a really difficult month. Instead of utilizing your credit card to make impulsive purchases, think of it as a convenience that may help protect your identity and bank account while also earning you benefits.
3. Avoid overstating anything in your application
An issuer will inquire about the applicant’s life and finances during the application process. To look more “creditworthy,” it may be tempting to overestimate income, understate debt, or misrepresent other elements of finances.
However, doing so can result in serious consequences, including jail time and hefty fines. Because a credit card application is a legal document, it is still possible to be accused of fraud for making false statements.
4. Make purchases and make payments on time:
An important component of establishing credit is demonstrating to creditors your ability to manage debt and your ability to make timely payments. A simple strategy to raise your credit score is to make purchases and settle your bill each month.
To avoid missing your due date, accruing interest, or paying late penalties, it’s a good idea to pay as soon as you receive your statement. Paying on time is one of the greatest methods to improve your credit because your payment history accounts for a sizable portion of your credit score.
5. Know the procedure for a grace period
The fact that you effectively receive an interest-free loan with a grace period of between 21 and 25 days is only one of the numerous advantages of using a credit card. Say you have a credit card period from January 5 through February 4 with a due date of March 1.
This is how it operates. Until the payment due date, any purchases made throughout the time frame are interest-free. You will be charged interest on your average daily balance if you don’t pay off your whole debt by March 1 or earlier.
Many individuals believe that the credit card debt that is still owed after the payment due date is subject to interest charges. However, you will be charged interest if you don’t pay off your entire sum in full.
6. Find out if there is an annual cost for the card and other card charges
If a credit card has an annual charge, be sure you have the funds available to cover it. Check to see if your expenditure and the card’s rewards will be sufficient to pay the charge. Alternatives include credit cards with benefits that have no annual charge.
There are several credit card fees that you could incur, but many of them can be simply avoided. Here are some of the most typical:
Fees include annual, balance transfers, foreign transactions, late payments, and over-the-limit fees.
7. Your Credit History
Your monthly credit card usage is reported by credit card issuers to organizations called credit bureaus or credit reporting agencies. Every person who has a credit card, loan, or another sort of credit-based account has their credit history maintained by these bureaus.
Your credit report will include certain credit card errors, such as late payments and excessive balances, which will make it more difficult for you to be approved for other credit cards in the future.
While getting your first credit card is a significant accomplishment, getting one is also not always simple. You must thoroughly comprehend how a credit card functions in practice and carefully review all of the terms and conditions that are pertinent to it.