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Getting a credit card is probably something that every person eagerly waits for. Unfortunately, most of them end up applying for the card without understanding the basics. This ignorance can lead to costly mistakes which may throw your financial life off track before you realize. It is imperative to be aware of a few fundamentals so you can make the right choice when applying for your first credit card.

Types of cards

There are a number of types of credit cards that are available in the market today. Some of the main categories are rewards credit cards, balance transfer credit cards, secured credit cards, low APR credit cards, student credit cards and many more. Each of these types caters to particular requirements of people. There are also various qualifying criteria applicable for each of these credit cards. Hence, it is imperative to first understand the type of credit cards you qualify for before applying for them.

Features

Various credit cards have various features. While some features are designed to benefit the customers, there are a few that are designed to bring in revenue for the banks. Certain features of the credit cards are listed in fine print and it is imperative to understand the various features before you sign up for one of the many credit cards offered by banks and credit unions.

Fees and other charges

Every credit card has some fees and charges associated to it. Annual fees and late payment fees are the two most common fees applicable to almost all the cards. Though a few banks waive off the annual fees for the first year as an introductory offer, no bank compromises on the late payment fees which are applicable if customers do not pay their dues on time.

Getting the first credit card is time consuming

Unlike presumed by many, getting the first credit card can be quite a challenge. This is because banks are unwilling to issue credit cards to people with no credit history since they are unsure about their ability to repay the dues on their credit cards. This can pose a significant amount of risk to the bank. However, there are certain options such as secured credit cards that can be easily obtained even by people without a credit history. This is because banks request an upfront deposit to cover the risk of non-payment of dues.