So you’re ready for your first credit card? The decision to get one could be the beginning of a satisfying journey to a robust financial life or it could mark the beginning of financial frustrations for you.

So you need to think critically before taking the next step.

Taking out a credit card is not just a mere fun thing to do – It’s going to have a reverberating effect in your life – it’s going to affect whether you’re going to pay more in insurance premium or not. It’s going to affect whether you ever get that loan you applied for with your local bank or not. Your landlord is going to run a credit check on you. Even your phone plan is affected too.

So you see, making this decision is not something to toy with – to give you another perspective we’ve listed below some of the important things we think you should know before ever applying for that credit card:

Read through the fine-prints

A sure thing right? But you may not be aware of this online survey that reported: “only one in 1000 people read fine prints before agreeing to a contract.”

So don’t think it wouldn’t be you. Several factors would put you off from reading through these small prints – the lengthy formal wordings; the small prints, the excitement of getting a credit card, and so much more.

But doing so would save you from future regrets – you don’t want to find out there’s a penalty for paying off your credit early, you don’t want to discover you can’t close off the credit account until a given period.

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Take your time, sit in a quiet place and go through all the terms of the contract before signing off – you’ll be happy you did.

Research, research and do some more research

We can’t emphasize this hard enough. Use the credit cards comparison services out there to compare different offerings – bear in mind though that not all cards get featured on each site – so it’s important to check as many websites as possible.

Now you may just be wondering – why would I have to go all these lengths to get a card? The answer is: you don’t want to be ripped off.

On a more serious note; doing your due diligence will uncover a myriad of different features and benefits each credit card has to offer – providing you with several options to choose from – you’re not restricted and has the opportunity of comparing different cards before settling for the ones that fit your personal needs.

Keep a close eye on your credit report

You’ve done your due diligence, you’ve settled for a credit card provider. Now you have your card – it’s time to keep an eagle eye over your account.

Request and pull up your credit report – under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, you’re eligible to apply for a free copy of your report once a year from each of the major credit bureaus. Though this report doesn’t contain your credit scores, you need to pay a fee to access them.

You may want to spread out requesting for these reports every four months – this enables you to get one report every quarter of the year while keeping tabs on any potential fraudulent activity.

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In summary, getting a credit card is an excellent way to build up credit worthiness; it could also lead to racking up bad credits. However, the trick is in going for what you can afford and comfortably pay back within the stipulated time.

We hope this three points would guide you in choosing the best card for your needs.