Why and How I Got My First Credit Card

Getting my first credit card while being a college student

On my 18th birthday, I applied for a Bank of America cashback card for college students, and I was accepted. Some people might be cringing at the idea of an 18-year-old with a credit card. Maybe, they’re thinking about how they themselves or had others fall victim to piles of credit card debt. Even so, the decision to get a credit card is one of the best decisions I have made. My credit score is over 700, and I recently turned 20 at the time of writing this.

By the time I decided to apply for a credit card, I had spent months reading about people fall victim to credit card debt and how credit cards increase someone’s spending. On the other hand, I read articles about travel hacking, the importance of a credit score, and the extra perks credit cards have. In reading all of this, I learned that I wanted to have a great credit score and discover how to properly use a credit card.

So Now What?

Since I had all this knowledge, I knew what credit card I wanted a month in advance.

Ha-ha. I should have made my choice a month in advance, but I goofed. Here’s what happened:

Night Before

Oh no! Tomorrow’s my birthday, and I haven’t even looked a credit card options. I guess I could figure out my top five then spend a few days thinking it over. Haha. No way I’m going to wait. I need to apply on my birthday because reasons!

First, I learned the difference between a secured credit card and a non-secured credit card. A secured credit card means you have to give a deposit while an unsecured credit card allows you to use it without putting down a deposit.

At first, I was worried that I would need to get a secured credit card since I had no credit at all. Even so, I decided to try my luck with a non-secured credit card. First, I looked for credit cards for college students since I knew I would have a better chance getting approved.

I would have a better chance because they are not expecting college students to have a decent amount of income, and I knew I wanted to get one without a cosigner. Then, I set up my criteria – credit card for students, no annual fee, and a recognized company

It came down to these choices:

–  Capital One Journey Student – I heard that this card had a good acceptance rate for students without any credit

– Bank of America Cashback – I had my checking and savings account with them

– I get rejected and use a secure card for a while

The Big Day

The next day, I was feeling pretty pumped to apply for a credit card. I felt like I finally reached some small part of adulthood. On top of that, I was now registered to vote and didn’t have to go to work.

Around 9 a.m. I turned on my laptop. Crossing my fingers, I applied for the Capital One Journeymen credit card. “Please approve my request,” I thought to myself. After a few seconds, I opened my eyes.

REJECTED! Noooo!

I already promised myself that if I didn’t get approved for either my first or second choice, I would start off with a secured credit card (This obviously wasn’t ideal).

Crossing my fingers once again, I filled out an online application for a Bank of America credit card. Here we go again. I closed my eyes for a minute and opened them. I was approved. My shoulders relaxed, and I started jumping around my room with a smile on my face.

Although I have made some mistakes since getting my credit card, I’m glad that I have one.

Would you get a credit card in college?

Opportunity quote | Missed opportunity quote | Opportunity inspiration

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