Wallet weight isn’t a figment of your imagination. Coins and smooshed wads of paper bills can add almost a kilo to what you’re carrying. Not saying that’s why you should invest in a credit card…but it’s an added bonus. In one slender, sleek, rectangular card you can have access to all your money (and then some!).
With great power comes great responsibility.
Having a credit card means it’s easier to get the things you want, from that flat-screen TV you’ve had your eye on to overseas goodies (a card is the simplest way to pay for Skybox). And a card makes splitting a bill for dinner out with friends a cinch, too. But all that monetary freedom comes with a cost: it requires you to take charge of your financial life.
As boring as the words “financial responsibility” may sound, it’s not hard so long as you adhere to a couple of ground rules:
1. Don’t spend more than you have.
2. Always make payments on time.
Every month, you’ll get a bill. If you don’t pay the minimum balance, you’ll be charged interest ‑ basically a pricey fine.
Being an adult doesn’t mean you stop being graded.
An expensive interest penalty isn’t the only reason to make a timely payment. Unpaid credit card bills damage your credit score. A credit score is like being graded as an adult. Just as a 60% in school reflects your effort and ability, so does a low credit score.
Low credit scores affect your ability to rent a home, buy a car, or in some cases, even get a job. And worse still, the affect your credit limit, meaning you can’t spend as much (goodbye, flat screen).
One more thing: you have to apply for a card.
Like any privilege, there’s an application process to get a credit card. For your first card, you’ll probably need to have a parent be a co-applicant with you (unless you already have a full-time job).
Double-check what information you’ll need to apply, but usually you and your parent will need to provide two forms of photo identification, a utility bill in your name, a recent job letter, and a recent pay slip.