WalletHub: First Best Credit Cards
Ask the Experts
Professor of Business, Raritan Valley Community College
What was your first credit card? How was the experience? What would you change?
My first credit card was a Visa card and I loved it. The freedom of not having to carry cash, especially coins, was wonderful. It was also perhaps a sense of power that I did not need “real money” to buy something. I just needed to give them a card. Of course, it is that sense of power and freedom that can cause people big trouble if they do not have the discipline to pay the card balance each month. I would not change anything from my experience.
When do you recommend people get their first credit card?
Having the freedom of not carrying cash is easy to achieve. Learning to be responsible for the debt is the hard part. If a parent or guardian has the time and energy to help a minor learn the discipline of paying off the entire balance each month, then letting a minor be an authorized user on a credit card with a spending limit is a good lesson and habit to teach. A spending limit is a key to avoiding major problems. The minor must recognize that the balance needs to be paid each month. A credit card is not just about freedom but learning responsibility and discipline. Good lessons to learn at an early age.
What advice do you have for someone getting their first credit card?
Start with just one card and pay the balance each month. If you will not be able to pay the balance, do not buy it. It is a great tool and, like all good tools, it needs to be handled with care.
Is it ever too late to get your first credit card?
It is never too late. In fact, if one really does get wiser with age, then having waited might be a good thing.
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