Applying for My First Credit Card

8
15909

The first credit card; another step in our journey to financial freedom. The process of applying has been very smooth and I’m excited to see the rewards pan out! Before applying I threw together a plan of action for what I wanted the credit card to achieve and when the best time would be for me to apply. Here’s the story:

Why Now?

1. After clearing my debt, the last thing I wanted to do was rely on a credit card for emergency expenses (although this can be a good strategy for some!). But now that my emergency fund is almost 75% complete; I can ensure that I should never be in a position where I’m spending more than I can afford on the card.

2. A year from now we’ll be thinking about putting a deposit down on our first mortgage; having a credit card now will allow me to build over 12 months of credit history to my credit score prior to this to give us some leverage in the mortgage application process.

3. Since clearing my debt I’m on the hunt for ways that I can make my money work for me; whether this is my current account, cash ISA or the credit card. The cashback returns from my chosen card allow me to make some good money on my day to day expenses so I see this as the next natural step in my asset allocation.

4. We may be looking to book our holiday at the end of this month; using the credit card on our flights during it’s 5% cashback offering should provide fantastic rewards!

My Expected Returns

I chose the American Express Everyday card due to the impressive cashback rates they are offering at the moment; for the first three months of purchases I gain 5% cashback and 1.25% on all purchases after this period. Aside from booking our flights, I will be using the credit card primarily to pay for petrol, food and any leisure activities. After drawing up a list of the minimum expenses I am due to spend over the course of twelve months; my minimum cashback return on the credit card is a reasonable £118.75.

The Direct Debit

This is the important part; credit card companies make it very easy for you to apply for credit but they’re all too sneaky in allowing you to set up the direct debit! Luckily I managed to find the AMEX direct debit form on the Money Saving Expert Forums and made sure I ticked ‘Pay in full‘ box to ensure I never receive any charges. If you have trouble setting up your direct debit you can always call the company who should be able to help you over the phone.

Making Money Work for Me

January 2014 was my first month living out of debt; since then I’ve been looking for ways to make my money work for me. With this in mind I’ve been working on asset allocation and so far this is my breakdown of monthly returns:

  • Current Account Reward: £5
  • Credit Card Cashback: £9.89
  • Cash ISA interest: £2

Total Income from Asset Allocation = £16.89 per month

I’m very happy with the returns so far and will look to further increase these with investments in future months! What rewards do you currently receive on your credit card?

8 COMMENTS

  1. Bonus credit cards are awesome and I wish I’d discovered them years ago!

    One thing to watch out for with the Everyday card is that the percentages are paid out in bands, so you only get the full 1.25% if you spend over 10K per year on it. I went for the cashback platinum (or something like that) which just gives you 1.25% straight off the bat but the downside is that there is a £25 annual charge. Still I don’t think we’d hit over 10K per year in spending on that card because a lot of places still don’t take Amex, so I think the £25 hit is worth taking to cash in the full cashback amount on all your purchases from day 1. Just something to watch out for like I say!

    • The 5% is mighty handy during our costly time of the year (holiday booking, moving house etc!).

      You’re right there, they certainly like to keep the bands quiet. The platinum cashback looks good, I was wary of paying an annual fee on my first card, still in the stages of checking the AMEX banking every day just in case I miss a payment ha!

      • Yep the 5% is awesome. We found a Barclaycard that did 6% in the first 3 months as well but I am not sure that is available any more. Definitely good to time these things when you know there are some big expenses coming up!

        I know what you mean about payments 🙂
        We’ve been going for about 1 year now with 2 cards and it’s never missed a payment once the direct debit was set up, these things tend to be pretty bullet proof nowadays but no harm in checking of course.

  2. Although some financial bloggers will decry credit cards as harbingers of financial ruin, when used properly, credit cards can be a great tool. Although you can get by in this world with little to no credit history, it can be difficult. A credit card is an easy way to build up a good credit report for yourself…as long as you use it wisely!

    Especially when some of the best credit cards will offer you 1.5-2.2% ‘cash back’, that’s really a no brainer for me!

    • Certainly right there, I’ve tried to use the AMEX whenever I make a purchase and have so far made £30 this month from the cashback whilst expenses are high (moving house). Being particularly watchful of the balance to ensure I never get into any trouble!

      We need to build our credit score over in preparation for our mortgage application so this should hopefully prepare us well!

      Thanks for stopping by Ben!

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here