Financing a wedding when you’re new to credit
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Getting hitched this year? You’re in good company. According to the Wedding Report, 2.5 million weddings are planned for 2022, the highest number since 1984.
Also rising is the amount people are spending on weddings. A survey by The Knot found the average cost for a wedding ceremony and reception in the U.S. in 2021 was $28,000. And a new Bankrate survey revealed that nearly a quarter of U.S. adults feel pressured to overspend at celebratory events, weddings included.
If you’re trying to budget for a wedding, financing can help — even if you’re new to credit — and that may mean applying for a credit card. Here’s how to save on your nuptials with a credit card.
Best credit cards for weddings
Even if you’ve never had a credit card of your own, you may have built up your credit score enough with a well-managed student or car loan or have been an authorized user on somebody else’s credit card. If so, your credit scores may be high enough to qualify for a credit card that can help you achieve a blissful, financially sound event — without incurring the dreaded debt.
Here are a few credit cards to consider for financing a wedding:
Best for financing your wedding with no interest: Chase Freedom Flex
One of the most powerful ways to save money as your borrow for your wedding is with a credit card that offers a 0% APR for over a specific time period. One of your best bets is the Chase Freedom Flex℠ credit card.
The Chase Freedom Flex gives you the opportunity to charge your wedding costs and then have up to 15 months from the date that you opened the account to pay it all off without any interest being applied. Moreover, if you steadily repay the balance and make all of your payments on time, the interest rate that will go into effect after the intro period is up can be as low as 18.74% (and as high as 27.49 percent). With such a reasonable regular rate, you can charge other purchases and then pay them off over time without excess fees adding to the debt.
Best for lowering wedding costs: Citi Custom Cash Card
Many credit cards offer new cardholders a sign-up bonus. The rewards can take several forms, such as cash, points and miles, but to reduce the cost of your ceremony and reception, a credit card that provides the bonus in cash may be especially attractive. The Citi Custom Cash℠ Card is a solid choice for wedding expenses.
With the Citi Custom Cash, you will earn 20,000 ThankYou points — worth $200 in cash back — after spending $1,500 in the first six months. With all the costs associated with the typical wedding, odds are you’ll hit that threshold quickly and easily. Once you do, the cash will be yours to spend on other things. For example, if the photographer you like best charges a couple hundred dollars more than the one who is more economical but less desirable, now you’re free to splurge!
Best credit card for your honeymoon: Capital One Platinum Credit Card
If you’re like many couples, after tying the knot comes the honeymoon where you can let loose. To protect your spending and keep costs low, you will want to get a credit card that is good for travel. Although many travel cards require excellent credit scores, a few are available to consumers who are relatively fresh to the credit scene. The Capital One Platinum Credit Card can be a terrific choice, since it only requires a fair to good credit score and offers some nice perks.
The Capital One Platinum Credit Card card doesn’t charge foreign transaction fees, so if you will be leaving the country for an international destination, you won’t be hit with those extra costs. This card also comes with the security that many vacationers value, including $0 fraud liability, emergency card replacement and security alerts, all of which protect you against loss or theft that can happen while you’re on a trip.
Best credit card for after the wedding: Blue Cash Everyday Card from American Express
Once you’ve settled in, and the ceremony, reception and honeymoon are all over, you will want to have a credit card that helps you earn money on everyday items so you can keep regular costs to a minimum. The Blue Cash Everyday® Card from American Express can be your ideal partner, particularly if you are new to credit because it only requires a good credit score. What’s more, you can earn up to $250 in statement credits by meeting the spend requirements. Earn up to $250. Earn 20% back (up to $150 in statement credits) on purchases with PayPal merchants. Plus, earn $100 as a statement credit after you spend $2,000. Complete both in the first 6 months of card membership.
The Blue Cash Everyday Card charges no annual fee and comes with some nice benefits. You will earn 3% cash back at U.S. supermarkets, U.S. gas stations and U.S. online retail purchases on up to $6,000 per calendar year in purchases in each category (then 1%), and 1% cash back on other purchases. Since these are common costs for most people, the rewards can rack up.
Is a wedding card right for you?
Opening a new credit card that you can use for all aspects of your nuptials, as well as your life afterward, makes a lot of sense.
Make sure you’re eligible for the account before you apply. Starting small with a credit card that has more flexible qualification requirements will be essential and can prevent unnecessary hard credit inquiries from appearing on your credit file, which can lower your scores. Check your credit scores first so you can pursue the card that is within reach.
It’s also important to use the credit card effectively. For example, if you get a card for your wedding because it has a 0 percent APR for a limited time frame, take steps to pay the debt off before the rate increases. If you get a credit card for the sign-up bonus, don’t overspend just to get the rewards.
Review and refine your budget and only charge the things that are on your list. When you bring your credit card on your honeymoon, mind your spending. It’s easy to get off track and charge more than you intend. The last thing you want is to come home and start your life together with a debt that will take years to repay.
All credit cards, including those you take out for your celebration, are designed to help you pay for things safely and conveniently. Your job is to keep the debt low or at zero, while paying the bill by the due date.
How to choose a wedding credit card
Once you know your credit scores, you can start to identify the best credit card for you. The account should be right for what you want to spend for your wedding, as well as into the future. To pinpoint the correct credit card, look for one that has the following qualities:
- A sign-up bonus you can meet without going into debt. If you do go for a credit card that offers a sign-up bonus, make sure you can hit the threshold by charging affordable products and services, then paying the balance off so interest is not applied. Some minimum spends are very high and can be a challenge for people on a budget.
- Benefits you will really use. Be realistic about the benefits. If you won’t be traveling much or at all, there is no reason to get a travel card. Review all of the accounts perks and ask yourself if they will fit your lifestyle.
- High reward structure for typical expenses. Many credit cards come with great rewards programs, so look for the one that best matches your spending patterns. For example, if you drive a lot, a card that rewards you the most at the pump will be appealing.
- Low or no annual fee. Credit cards that come with annual fees often help the card issuer pay for the rewards that you receive. They are also common for credit cards designed for people who are new to credit. Whatever the case for you, look for the card that either has no annual fee or one that is reasonable for what you get.
- Low regular APR. If you will be charging expenses and then paying over time, a credit card with the lowest APR will work in your favor.
No. Consider credit cards a long-term relationship. It’s great to start it for a specific purpose, but you will also want the card to be good for expenses after that occasion is over. To build credit, you will want to aim for longevity with an account. The longer you have and use a credit product, the better for your scores.
Yes. Most credit cards allow you to add authorized users to your account. When you do, you are giving your formal permission for the other person to have a credit card with their name on it that they can use. Only you will be responsible for the payments, however, because account ownership will not change. You can also give your spouse informal permission to use your credit card.
No. Your credit card will only appear on your spouse’s credit report if you make that person an authorized user. If you don’t, the account will only be on your credit report, even if you let your spouse use the card on an informal basis.
Yes, though there are very few credit card issuers that allow for joint ownership. When they do, the financial and credit profiles of each of you will be assessed, and the account will be granted to the both of you. The credit card will appear on each of your credit reports and you will be jointly responsible for debt. You can also apply for your own credit card using your spouse’s income.
The bottom line
Getting a credit card specifically for your wedding can be a wonderful way to launch your new life as a couple. But put some thought into this.
Consider all the things you want to pay for that are within your carefully prepared spending plan. Make sure the credit card is not just appropriate for this event, but will be beneficial for years to come, too. If you use the account responsibly by keeping the debt low and always paying your bill on time, you will be able to prove to lenders that you’re a good credit risk — which sets you up for better credit cards, car loans, maybe your first home.