Why You Should Get a Credit Card Account at 18
Updated: Jan 14, 2021
This is that first step to adulting that I really really really didn't want to do.
Rural and Ready Blog Post
This is that first step to adulting that I really didn't want to do.
I had very little concern for my financial literacy knowledge by the time I graduated high school. All I knew was how to use a chequing and savings account, which is all I felt like I needed to know.
My father told me I should get a credit card the summer before leaving for university. I remember getting overwhelmed and thinking that financial risk and responsibility felt like a heavy burden. However, I think my dad saved me from some really big barriers that I didn’t realize until recently.
Key Highlights of a Credit Card
1) Financial Lenders’ can Choose Decisions in Your Favour
The earlier the better! Opening a credit card account early looks better as financial lenders can see that you can manage money. Your credit history shows potential lenders that you are able to payback money for years to come.
2) Post-secondary Fees Require Credit Card Usage
A lot of school fees need to be provided with a credit card from online school platforms. A credit card can also come in handy if money gets tight for certain periods. If you need to make a quick grocery run for a few items, a credit card can come in handy until you get your next paycheque at a part-time job. Just be careful to ensure you don't overspend on money you don't have.
3) Gain Points for Free Stuff
Like a grocery store rewards program, you can use your credit card to gain points that are redeemable for a variety of rewards. Some of these could be cash-back, travel, gas points, and restaurant discounts. There are many rewards that can benefit you… for future you! Points may take a while to gain over time. However, if you are already planning on getting one, why not go to Italy a little earlier than expected?
So how do you start?
1. Start with an Appointment
Your bank advisor would be happy to get you started anytime! You can ask about what the best options are for students and what plan best aligns with your personal goals. You can even set up alerts on your online banking app to ensure you pay credit payments on time.
2. Get a Credit Card Tracking App.
There are a lot of apps available that can help you observe your credit card. To name a couple, here are my favourites!
This app is a helpful tool to help manage and keep track of your credit score. You can access a credit report to see if you qualify for any credit card options.
Mint is a credit management app that shows your banking and credit card transactions to see how and what you are spending money on. You can also receive bill reminders, spending and balance alerts.
3. Pay off the Balance Every Month but Check in Often
Now that you have a card, you must ensure that you’re paying off what you’re spending at least once a month. For my sake, I often paid as soon as the credit statement came in. If you’re ever nervous about not paying your credit card on time, just keep tabs and set reminders monthly to check your banking account for any outstanding payments.
4. Never Skip a Payment
I got nervous when my bank asked me to pay a $100 credit card payment that I completely forgot about within the first year I had a card. Missing a payment could happen and that’s okay! You can certainly bounce back from skipping a payment once and my credit is still very good today. However, it is best to make sure you never skip a payment so you can avoid a future panic attack.
5. Use the Perks
Did you know you can get rewards and collect points? Your bank may have some offers that you can earn when you keep spending your credit card wisely.
Happy Spending Readers!