Skip nav to main content.

Getting your first credit card: What you need to know.

Don’t be scared

Credit Cards: They seem scary, but did you know getting your first credit card early on can be a really good thing? Ignore the negative hype! When used responsibly, credit cards do a number of good things for you, such as allowing you to “buy now and pay later” when you truly need to, teaching financial self-control, and building good credit. This puts you in a prime position when you’re ready for a REALLY big purchase, such as:

  • First Home
  • New Car
  • Personal loan for vacation or other use

Your first credit card: Where to start

So, you’re ready to get your first credit card? Outstanding! Heartland Credit Union can definitely help:

  • Stop at any Heartland branch to request a new credit card. Or you can begin the application right on our website. We’ll run some information and see if you are able to be approved. Be sure to have your ID with your name and address, and your social security number.
  • If you’re under 18, your parent or guardian is required to be on the card so be sure bring them with you. The card would have the parent or guardian’s name on it for the time being, but you’d have full control to use it with their permission!
  • We’ll look at your credit report to see what (if anything) is currently on there.
  • If approved, in a few days your new card will arrive with activation instructions.
  • Voilà! Your new card is ready to use!

Slow your roll

Just because you have a new credit card doesn’t mean you should buy out every store. Be cautious and use your card responsibly. Make small purchases, here and there, and never exceed your spending limit. Use it only for things you absolutely need, such as:

  • A tank of gas
  • Groceries for the month
  • A haircut

Pay it off!

Every time you get your statement, don’t dawdle! Pay it off right away (or as much as you can) to avoid being late. When your payments are late, you start getting fees. And worse yet, a hit on your credit score, which will affect the amount of money you can borrow down the line, for those big important purchases we talked about! But as long as you’re staying within your budgeted limits, you’ll be just fine. Remember, just because you have a credit card, doesn’t mean you have to max it out!

Your first credit card can open a huge door to demonstrating responsibility. The longer you have the card and make on-time payments, your credit limit will increase. Keep using it wisely and your credit card will help you in the long run.