||Ask Dr. Don
Dear Dr. Don,
I am a senior in college and am going to be graduating
and getting married in May. I am interested in getting a credit card
to pay for things like honeymoon plane tickets and stuff like that.
I have never had a credit card before but have had a car loan in my
own name that I completely paid off about a year and a half ago. I
was wondering what type of credit card I should look for, and if it
should include certain things.
Best wishes on your forthcoming wedding and congratulations on the
planned completion of your undergraduate degree. Besides being your
fiancé's dream girl, you're a marketer's dream come true,
College seniors are pitched a lot of credit offers
for car loans and credit cards. Figure out what role you want credit
to play in your monthly budget and choose a card that best meets
that need. If you don't plan on carrying a balance, then a low annual
fee or an affinity/rebate card may do the trick. If you think that
you will carry a balance, then your focus should be on the card's
annual percentage rate (APR).
Bankrate's Advisers series has an interactive
worksheet that will help you decide what card is right for you.
Then use Bankrate's Credit
Card home page to find and apply for cards that meet your needs.
The payment history on your car loan gives you an
advantage over college seniors that don't have a credit history
when applying for credit. It would be a good idea to contact
the credit bureau(s) to get a copy of your credit report(s)
and credit score(s) so you can see how creditors will see you when
you apply for a card.
Finally, don't fill out multiple applications. Choose
one or two cards that meet your needs and limit your applications
to those cards. Every time you apply for credit, it shows up on
your credit report and stays on the report for two years. Multiple
applications and rejections make you look desperate for credit,
and lenders hate to lend to desperate people.
-- Posted: March 10, 2004