Applying for a credit card doesn’t just happen suddenly. Applying for a credit card without understanding how it really works can lead to unpaid debts. You'll end up swiping here and there, grabbing every sale and drowning in fees and charges they thought could be waived.
Credit cards are financial tools that come with a price. Privileges and perks require a sense of responsibility and financial maturity. So before submitting the application form online or too eager bank agents, find out if you see these signs of credit readiness.
1. You understand what a credit card is (and what it is not)
For some, these plastics seem glamorous that having them in their wallets boosts confidence and charm. But more than the elegance of its façade, the mechanism behind credit card use is much more complicated than imagined. If you still don’t know the difference between statement date, cut-off date, and due date, then you are not yet ready. Moreover, if you don’t understand how monthly interests are charged, you might as well not activate the card.
Credit card complexities come in many different forms. Before applying, make sure that you know the terms, conditions, and requirements. Understanding the very essence of this financial tool can help you reap the benefits without paying for anything in return.
For instance, a credit card lets you earn a free meal worth Php200 for every Php3,000 spend. At first glance, the offer is so enticing that it makes you earn back around 6.5% of what you spend. It seemed so good that you kept on using your card without realizing that your total purchases have already ballooned to an amount you can’t afford to pay. Credit cards entice you with promos that could be good for those who truly understand the pros and cons.
2. You have a stable source of income
There is a reason why you are required to submit a certificate of employment of a salary certificate when applying for a credit card. Credit card providers would want their customers to exhibit stability by being with their company for at least one year. Having a job ensures that you have a monthly income to cover for your debts.
This requirement should not discount freelancers. At present, banks also provide credit cards to those freelancers who can show proofs of income like remittance receipts from their clients abroad. They are also eligible for secured credit cards upon recommendation from their bank of accounts.
3. You are financially responsible
The financial responsibility of first-time applicants could not be gauged concretely by credit card providers. This aspect of readiness profoundly affects the would-be cardholder. You will know if you are financially responsible if you pay your bills on time, don’t pay a debt with another debt, keep a monthly budget, and set aside for savings.
It is essential to know if your finances are sound before applying for a credit card. Credit cards aren’t made to bail you out of debt. These cards are mainly an opportunity to help you grow and mature financially. If you applied for a card despite financial woes which you cannot manage, the possibility is enormous for you to be indebted for much more.
Take time to assess yourself in terms of financial responsibility. If you still couldn’t afford to or to pay to utility bills on time and in full, then don’t apply for a credit card yet.
4. You are creditworthy
Are you saddled in another type of loan? Do you have unpaid balances from your previous mortgage? Are you not receiving your salary in full due to debt payment deductions? Is your ATM still in your wallet, or you’ve already loaned it out to informal lenders?
Creditworthiness is measured by your credit score, which banks consider when approving or declining your application. Creditworthiness reflects your ability to pay back the money you owe. Your level of debt, payment history, and negative information all contribute to your chances of getting approved for a credit card.
5. You think before making a purchase
Every purchase requires planning. Those who plan what to buy next are most likely to become a responsible credit card holder. Impulse buying will not do you any good, and worse, it may lead you to severe financial woes.
Evaluate yourself in terms of shopping, dining, and purchasing in general. Do you make a list of what to buy? Do you prioritize necessities against luxuries? Do you have a monthly spending budget you strictly follow?
Thinking before making a purchase is a sign of self-control and financial maturity.
6. You don’t depend on your parents for money
Do you often borrow money from your parents and fail to pay them back? Do you still live with them in the same household? Are you asking them for financial support or extra cash?
Financial dependence is a huge warning sign that you are not yet ready to own a credit card. If your tatay or nanay still handle your monthly bills, the possibility is huge for you to ask them to pay your credit card balances.
Apply for a credit card if you are confident that your earnings could cover your needs. And that you won’t call your parents to rescue you from debts.
Owning a credit card is a fulfilling and rewarding opportunity for those who are emotionally and financially ready to take the challenge. Since these are financial tools, they would require maturity to be handled correctly. If you think you exhibit all the signs mentioned above, then take that next big step to apply for a credit card.
Be ready to redefine your financial landscape with huge perks and opportunities offered by many credit card providers in the country.
Best Credit Cards For Those Earning Below Php15,000 Monthly
Here are credit cards especially offered for low-income applicants