When we're young, credit cards seem like this magical object that you can use to purchase all of your heart's desires, no strings attached. Now that we're older—and a bit more realistic—we know this isn't the case. Everything has a price and an interest rate. However, some credit cards come with great benefits and serve as a wonderful addition to your family's financial life, if you know how to use them properly.
Before thinking about credit card perks, consider how opening and maintaining new lines of credit can affect your family's lifestyle. A few tips?
- Pay all bills on time and in full
- Know your credit utilization (the amount of debt assumed relative to the amount of debt available to use)
- Keep old, healthy credit accounts open to increase credit age
- Ensure credit report doesn't contain any errors
Here are the best credit cards for your family:
For families without great credit
If you're new to the credit journey, card options may be fewer and farther between, as creditors often look to credit scores to determine credit worthiness. That said, there are a few great options for those without a high credit score to back them up. It will be beneficial to begin boosting your credit score now, giving you more opportunity to apply for an array of cards, loans, and mortgages later on.
For cards that do not require previous credit histories or impressive credit scores, the Green Dot primor® Visa® Platinum Secured Credit Card and First Progress Platinum Prestige Mastercard® Secured Credit Card are good places to start. Just note that both come with annual fees ($39 and $49 respectively) and don't offer any flashy perks or signup bonuses.
For the foodie family
For many families, the dinner table is the encapsulation of family time, but making sure that there's food on the table is an expense many families need to plan for. Luckily, many credit cards offer cashback or rewards for grocery hauls and restaurant outings to help carry the (grocery) load.
For the world traveling family
Travel points are a highly sought after perk of credit cards, and with many companies offering their own suite of travel points through their individual means (from airlines to ride-sharing brands), it can be tough to navigate.
To get your feet wet with travel cards, the Chase Sapphire Preferred is a great place to start. This card, which has a $95 annual fee, offers 2x points per dollar on travel and dining purchases, and new cardholders get a 60,000-point bonus after spending $4K in the first three months (approximating at least $750 in free travel!).