When to Apply for a Credit Card?

Ways to Correctly Utilize Your Credit Card
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Ah, credit cards. They’re the gateway to new experiences and the key to keeping your finances under control. But not all credit cards are created equal—and some definitely aren’t worth the trouble they cause. How can I apply for a credit card? Here’s what you need to know about deciding whether or not it’s time to apply for a credit card:


You’re at least 18 years old

You must be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card. If you’re 17 years old, then you can submit an application with a co-signer (a parent or guardian), but your account will not be opened until your 18th birthday.

You don’t have a ton of debt

If you don’t have a ton of debt, applying for a credit card can be a great way to get yourself out of it. After all, carrying a balance on your credit cards will only make it harder to pay off your debt and get back into the black. If you’re already working on paying down what you owe, then now’s the time to start thinking about getting some rewards and perks that can help boost your savings—and even earn cash back or travel rewards along the way!

You’ve had a bank account for a while

You should have a bank account for at least six months before applying for a credit card. This is because you can only apply for a credit card if you already have an active checking or savings account with the same bank.

If not, they will reject your application and may even close down your checking or savings account if they suspect that it is being used as collateral (a form of loan) to get approved for the new credit card. The reason this could happen is that someone else in your household might have opened up the same type of account in order to get approved—but can’t prove that they’ve been living at this address with their own income.

You have a decent income

You should have a good income, whether it’s from a job or another source (like an inheritance). You should also have a steady income that you can rely on long-term. A good credit score is also important—you may not get approved for the best credit cards if you don’t have one. If your job is unstable, consider opening a card during times when it’s stable and keep paying off debt as soon as possible whenever there’s instability in your life.

You have good credit

  • Make sure your credit score is good. The first thing you should do is check your credit reports and scores. You can get a free copy of each from AnnualCreditReport.com.
  • Check for late payments on your report(s). If there are any delinquencies, it could affect how potential lenders view your application for a new line of credit.
  • Ensure that there’s no evidence of bad payment behavior on your record.
  • Review how many lines of credit you currently have open—it’s generally recommended to have no more than two open accounts at a time.

As financial planners like SoFi say, “Different cards may have varying requirements for minimum income or credit score needed to qualify.”

Having a credit card is a great way to build up your credit score and start practicing your spending habits. If you’re at least 18 years old, have had a bank account for some time, and have a decent income, then you might be ready to apply for one!