May 27, 2022

Credit Card Q&A With Our Experts - Patrick Mayles

Patrick Mayles
Forbes & Seeking Alpha Contributor

1. When did you first get your credit card?

I got my first credit card when I was about twenty years old, in my junior year of college. At the time, I had a part-time job and wanted to build credit. I made sure I never carried an interest balance (or at least I tried!). 

2. When do you think someone is ready for a credit card?

When it comes to finance, we all hit key milestones at different times, and that’s totally fine. While there’s no fixed age for getting a credit card, I would say that the following questions give clues as to whether or not you’re ready for a credit card:  

  1. Are you saving money?
    If you aren’t saving any money, you probably shouldn’t get a credit card. Using a card to fill the gap between what you earn and what you spend is going to create bigger problems for you down the road. 
  2. Are you an adult?
    It’s never too early to start building your credit, but maturity is a crucial factor for a positive relationship with credit. If you’re under 18, have a serious discussion with your parents or a financial advisor as to whether it’s necessary to get a credit card so young. 
  3. Do you have a job?
    If you aren’t working, you may not be ready for credit. The terms of your credit card, such as the interest rate, will likely be tougher as well, if you can get credit at all. 
  4. If you don’t have a job, are your parents willing to cosign?
    Your parents may be willing to cosign or even pay your credit card bill. In this case, responsibly managing that credit is between you guys, and it will likely be a lot easier to get a credit card. 
  5. Do you want a credit card, or does someone else want you to have one?
    If someone else, such as a parent, spouse, cousin, or friend is pushing you to get a credit card, that’s a big red flag! It’s your credit, your name on the debt, and wholly your decision whether it’s time for a card. Don’t let someone else pressure you into taking on debt, especially if they don’t plan to cosign. 

3. What kind of advice would you give to someone who is signing up for their first credit card?

Credit is a tool, not a toy.
One sign that you’re handling a credit card poorly is if your spending jumps up after you get it, particularly on unnecessary items like devices, trips, and nights on the town. Credit cards are a powerful tool to build credit and protect you from emergency expenses. They are not, by any means, free money. Remember that most of the time, you will end up paying high interest if you carry a balance. Don’t let that introductory 0% rate leave you digging yourself out of a $3,000 hole! 

4. What kind of obstacles can one expect when signing up for a credit card? How should one prepare for it?

1) You’re too young.
If you’re under age 21, you’ll likely need to verify income in order to get a card, particularly if your parents aren’t helping you. 

2) You have bad (or no) credit history.
If you’ve already hit some bumps in the road, such as bankruptcy or a low credit score, you’re going to have a tough time getting credit. If your score seems lower than it should be, get a free credit report to make sure there are no surprises in your profile. 

5. If one keeps getting rejected, why might that be the case? Do you have any tips?

In all likelihood, you’re considered an unacceptable credit risk for the card issuer. The primary reasons for this are that you have no job or you have bad credit. Working hard to save money, pay off debts, and build a credit score will empower your future beyond a credit card, but will certainly make it easier to get one. 

If you need to build credit, consider taking on a different type of (manageable) debt. Small student and personal loans are an option to start building your credit history. Credit builder loans are designed specifically to build or rebuild credit, and can go a long way in getting you ready for a card, both in terms of building your credit score and that monthly payment muscle.  

Want a card that adjusts your credit limit, lowers your interest rate and increases your cashback rewards based on your good habits each month? Jupiter Card – the first credit card that ensures you get the best deal possible, forever – is a powerful tool for you to take charge of your financial future.
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