A credit card symbolizes the change from childhood to adulthood. When an individual gets a credit card, he or she is making a decision that will change his or her life permanently. It is important that individuals who are first embarking on credit card usage are aware of how different their lives will be after they get credit cards.
When you first acquire a credit card, your credit score is going to be low, but through responsible use of your credit card, you can establish good credit in just a couple years. Since a credit card measures how well you handle debt, it is important to show yourself to be responsible to pay off your card, to not take on too many cards, to not miss payments, and to have a consistent history of using your card and making payments on it. As a result, the decisions and choices that you make early on when you first acquire your credit card will have an impact later on in life. If you handle your credit card well, it will be easy for you to purchase a car or a house in the future, but if you are irresponsible, it will make it more challenging in the future for you to make big purchases.
Although much smaller in significance, I would also consider cash back rewards cards another example of how getting a credit card can change your life. I am more likely to use my credit card–although I pay it off every month–because I know that I will receive cash back rewards. If you choose a travel rewards card, you may receive greater incentives to travel abroad, which is always life-changing. In addition, using a credit card for almost all of my purchases has made me more aware of my spending habits–as my bank categorizes my spending every month–and my finances in general. I normally check my accounts online every other day to ensure that all my purchases have shown up and that there is no fraudulent activity.
As with everything in life, there is always a potential downside. If you get a credit card as a young adult and use it irresponsibly by only making your minimum payments and using it to spend money that you do not have, it will change your life, but for ill. It is important to remember that credit cards must be handled wisely and used with restraint. Do not fall into the trap of spending more than you earn and being unable to save money until much later in life.
In sum, getting a credit card can change your life, but you get to decide how it will impact you. As a young adult, remember that you are establishing your credit history and starting off financial habits that you will likely keep the rest of your life when you first start using your credit card. Use it wisely, and your future self will thank you.