Building a credit history is important for a number of things. These are things like getting good housing or getting a loan. But you can’t get a good credit card without having good history. But for good history, you need a credit card.
So, where does this circle start and where does it end?
Getting a Student Credit Card
To get a credit card, you have to provide proof of employment and income. You should be at least 18 years of age to be eligible for a student credit card.
If you don’t have an independent source of income as of yet, you can become an authorized user on another do not as yet have an independent source of income, you can become an authorized user on another adult’s credit card. This can be your parent’s or older sibling’s card. Make sure that your usage is being reported to credit bureaus. Also clear any and all dues on time.
You can also get a Secured Card. Here, you make a security deposit with the issuer and this serves as your credit line. However, it’s reported as a normal credit card to credit bureaus. This lets you start building a credit history that you can use later on.
When You Have a Job
Apply for one or two cards with low APRs. Don’t apply for too many cards at once. Too many rejected applications can adversely affect your credit history. If you can’t get a credit card right now, stay on as an authorised user or as a secured card holder for a bit longer. Once you’ve built up a good credit score, apply again.
Get cards with low interest rates and minimal fees. Some student credit cards come with no annual fees. These are good choices to reduce costs.
Enable text and email reminders for card dues and due dates. Pay on time and avoid late payment charges. Don’t use more than 30% of your credit limit and make the maximum payment possible for each billing period, if you can’t make the full payment.
Getting a Credit Card if You are an International Student
If you have come to the US from another country and you have a student visa that also authorizes you to work in the USA, you might be able to get a credit card.
However, before you apply for a credit card, you need to get a Social Security Number (SSN) To apply for your SSN, you need to submit proof of identification, age, work authorization, job proof, and income proof. You need to fill in the Form SS-5 or Social Security Care application form and submit this form. Also submit any relevant documents to your Social Security office.
Once you get your SSN, you can apply for a credit card. A job that provides you a steady income and a savings or checking account can increase your chances of approval. You can use your school address as your permanent address in your application.