Opening and managing credit cards responsibly is crucial to establishing credit history, which impacts your eligibility and future loan rates. Here’s what to know about opening credit cards and using them responsibly.
Applying for a credit card
First card? As you consider your credit card options, look no further than your credit union. As a member-owned cooperative, TruMark Financial consistently offer credit cards at lower interest rates than those issued by big banks. A TruMark Financial Smart Start Rewards Visa® credit card may be perfect for your first credit card, as it was designed with young adults in mind.
Using your card
You can use your card to make purchases at any retailer and charge up to the available credit limit on your card. However, to help keep your credit score high, it’s best to keep your credit utilization below 30% of the available credit.
You’ll get a credit card statement each month. It will include the following:
- Summary of transactions since the last billing cycle. This includes purchases, payments, balance transfers, cash advances, fees, interest payments, and more
- The balance from the previous billing cycle
- The minimum payment due
- The payment due date
- The number of days in your billing period
- Credit limit and available credit
- Available or redeemed rewards
It’s important to review your statement for accuracy and note the bill’s due date so you don’t miss a payment.
If you pay your entire bill by its due date, you’ll avoid paying interest on the month’s charges and only pay the cost of the actual purchases. However, if you only make the minimum payment, interest will continue to accrue on the leftover balance.
Maintaining a high credit score
Here’s how to build your credit score and keep it high:
- Pay your credit card bills on time
- Pay more than just the minimum due
- Keep your credit use low
- Ask for a credit limit increase after nine months of responsible use
- Keep your cards active
Responsible credit card usage is an important part of financial health. Follow the tips outlined above to keep your score high and enjoy the benefits for years to come.