The next best thing to happen after turning 18 and obtaining a driving license is having your own 1st credit card. However, no matter how exciting it sounds, a credit card comes hand in hand with responsibilities.
Today, you have many types of credit cards to choose from. You can select the one that suits your requirement the most and apply for the same. But what exactly is the nitty and gritty of holding a credit card? First of all, you receive your credit card via mail, then you need to activate it. After it gets activated, you need to know how to use your credit card responsibly. And finally, get the statement of your credit card and pay the bill. Being aware of the details of what happens in these steps helps you in avoiding various fees and charges. Here is what you can expect from your very 1st credit card.
Receiving the Credit Card Via Mail
After you apply credit card online and get approved for it, your card issuer will send it to you on the address mentioned in your application. After receiving the credit card, you will have to activate it by following the procedure of activation.
For activation, you need to enter the number on your credit card and the social security number or zip code or both. You cannot access your credit card before activating it.
The envelope in which you receive your card also contains an agreement. This credit card agreement is a lengthy document that explains the features of your card account, when and how the charged will be levied, how the disputes (if any) can be handled with your issuer and other terms & conditions of the credit card. Although it seems like an unnecessarily long document, it is recommended that you go through this agreement thoroughly as it gives you exact details regarding your credit card.
How to Use your Credit Card?
The credit card account in your name is assigned a particular credit limit. The credit limit is the maximum amount that you can spend using your credit card. If you opt-in for over-limit charges, only then you will be allowed to spend a certain amount above the credit limit.
Although you can spend all the way up to the assigned credit limit, that is not a responsible way of using a credit card. In case you keep running up your card balance soon, the issuer might take back some of the credit limit assigned to your account. You might also be charged an increased interest rate or a fee on exceeding the limit. This also has a negative effect on your credit ratings.
It is ideal to spend only a certain amount of the credit limit.
While making purchases, the card terminal checks with the credit card issuer to ensure that your card is valid & that you have enough credit available for purchasing. As soon as your transaction gets approved, a receipt will be printed. You then have to sign that receipt and take all your shopping home.
Making the Payment on your Credit Card
After a few days of getting the credit card, you will receive your credit card bill. The billing statement contains the details of the transactions you have made on your account. It also lists your due date of payment and the minimum due amount. You at least need to pay the minimum amount on or before the due date, otherwise, you will be charged a late payment fee. On missing 2 consecutive payments, your rate of interest will rise to a penalty rate. In case you have never paid your balance, your credit card is charged-off & sent to the collection agency.
It is advised to send the payment considerably in advance to the credit card company so that they receive it prior to the due date. Although you have an option of making minimum payment in order to avoid a late payment fee, however, it is best to make payment of your credit card balance in full during the end of each month. By doing so, you can save yourself from paying interest on your account and from accumulating debt on your credit card.
Over to You
Without a doubt, the excitement of getting your first credit card is immense, however, make sure you use your card with responsibility. Once you receive your credit card via mail, you need to activate it. After it gets activated, you need to know how to use your credit card properly. And finally, get the statement of your credit card and pay the bill. Being aware of the details of what happens in these steps helps you in avoiding various fees and charges.