How to Successfully Get Your First Credit Card

Written by Jonathan Halloway on February 28, 2019

Updated April 12, 2022

Couple apply for a credit card for the first time

Having a credit card is important considering the different ways it can help you offset pressing financial needs. Most importantly, it’s highly useful in building a credit record or enhances it while offering the funds you need to offset emergencies.

However, applying and getting your first credit card is tricky if you’ve never attempted it before. With so many credit card providers across the UK, you might want to pay attention to what you need to do to successfully get your first card.

Established borrowers preferred

One thing you need to remember before applying for a credit card is that credit card providers, including all loan providers anywhere, prefer lending to borrowers with long credit history rather than first-time credit applicants without credit records and history of debt repayment.

Don’t be deterred by this because even those with credit cards had a first time. A first credit card could be your way to building a wonderful credit history and unlocking future credit for various personal and business projects.

Rejections could be disastrous

Compare credit cards

As a first time applicant, you might have a clean slate, but no lender actually knows whether you’re able to pay off debt or not. Perhaps you’re in employment for the first time or a student. Whatever the case, it means you could be rejected immediately for specific credit cards.

Rejections affect everyone, including borrowers with good repayment histories. Rejections, however, could damage your credit score and make accessing future credit really hard.

Avoid rejections by only applying for credit cards whose eligibility criteria you meet perfectly. Read clearly what credit card providers want and ensure you meet every single requirement before filling up the application.

Display trustworthiness

Improve your credit score

To successfully get your first credit card you need to prove to the credit card provider you’re trustworthy and able to pay off even without a history of servicing debts. Avoid rejections and start establishing a verifiable credit history.

For first-time credit card applicants, establishing credit history shouldn’t be hard. Study your credit report and understand your circumstances, especially gaps in your credit record you could improve. A few measures to improve your credit score before applying for credit cards can really help to avoid rejections and see your application approved. These include:

  • Beginning to pay for utility bills with your name, such as cell phone, electricity and gas bills to enhance your credit card checks ratings. Avoid fraud of any kind since the card provider will assess your risk potential, particularly those who’ve never paid bills or history of credit.
  • Enrolling in your local electoral roll with your real address to help credit card providers confirm the critical requirement of a credible address.
  • Avoiding the lure of moving around often and changing your addresses a lot, including staying too long without seeking employment. It tells lenders you’re untrustworthy and unreliable.
  • Those in rented accommodations can list their parental home as their home addresses. Those who are married and stay married for years do have an advantage.

First-time credit card applicants can apply from their current banks or financial institutions managing their current accounts to make the most of their shared history. The successful application might not be guaranteed but carefully considering their eligibility criteria could help, including a good history with the institution.

Don’t fall for instant decision claims

As a first credit card applicant, the credit provider will need a credit report to weigh your application like any other. Since your credit history is thin or unavailable, you could be easily rejected even if you’re told during the instant decision process that you’re qualified.

A positive instant decision is not a guarantee for a successful credit card application. You could be easily and rapidly rejected even after you were told right away you were eligible.

Focus on credit builder credit cards

Credit builder cards for improving your credit score

Credit builder credit cards have for a long time been provided to individuals with poor credit histories. However, credit providers also offer builder credit cards to those without credit histories or haven’t owned credit cards in the past.

They’re easier to manage and help give you a history of paying off credit card debt that providers will be interested in when making applications for credit in future.

Look for ways to boost your credit such as paying your mobile phone bill through direct debit and not using your overdraft.

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