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How to Get Your First Credit Card

If you have no credit history, how do you get a credit card? Your first credit card marks your first foray into the world of adult finance and responsible lending. It's an important step for any citizen to take. Getting a credit card today can help set up your credit for future car loans and even mortgage loans.

This is how to get your first credit card, even with zero previous history.

Most Importantly, Get a Source of Income

It's extremely, extremely difficult to get a credit card if you don't have a source of income.

Credit card lenders see people who're trying to get access to credit yet don't have any way to repay the loan with suspicion.

Even if you just get a minimum wage job, that's going to help a lot.

Start with Your Bank

Where have you deposited money for the last few years? Do you have a bank that you already have a relationship with?

If so, this may be your best shot. Simply walk into your bank, ask to talk to a banker (not a teller) and tell them you want to apply for a credit card.

If you've been banking there for a while and have steady income, you have a very good chance of qualifying.

Getting a Student Card

If you're in college, it's quite easy to get a student card. There are many credit card companies out there that specialize in giving credit to students.

Make sure that with these loans, you read the credit card agreements very carefully. Sometimes predatory lenders deliberately target students.

Get a Gas or Department Store Card

Gas stations like Shell or Exxon Mobil offer credit cards that are usually quite easy to qualify for. The same goes for department stores like Macy's and Sears.

Again, make sure you read over the interest rates and terms carefully. Department store cards are easier to qualify for, but they're also often more expensive.

Leverage Your Parents' Credit

If you have trouble getting a credit card on your own, you can leverage your parents' credit to help.

There are two ways to do this.

First, you can have your parents co-sign on your credit card for you. This means that although you are responsible for paying back the credit card, if you fail to, the responsibility shifts to your parents.

The second method is to add you as an authorized user to your parents' credit card account. This allows you to "share" in the credit history generated by that credit card.

Getting a credit card for the first time might take a little bit of door pounding. You might get turned down a few times. Just remember that banks want to give out money - keep trying and one will eventually say yes. Once you get the credit card, make sure you make payments every single month to keep your credit score strong.