4 Reasons to Get a Credit Card in Your Early 20s

by Natasha Gabrielle | Updated July 21, 2021 - First published on March 21, 2021

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A young woman gives the thumbs-up sign while holding a credit card.

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If you're in your early 20s and don't yet have a credit card, now is the perfect time to get one and set yourself up for financial success.

Some people warn against young adults getting credit cards because they fear they will be financially irresponsible and rack up debt. But getting a credit card in your early 20s can offer many benefits including learning how to manage finances early in life. Young adults who don't learn financial lessons early on may make poor financial decisions and end up with a pile of debt.

So don't assume that getting a credit card is a bad thing. In fact, here are four reasons to get one in your early 20s:

1. Learn how to manage money

In their early 20s, many adults aren't sure how to manage their money because they weren't taught this skill in school and their family never talked about financial responsibility. Getting a card in your early 20s and learning how to use it responsibly can be an important step for your future. Using your credit card wisely can help teach you how to budget your money, as well as how to pay bills on time, avoid debt, and live a comfortable life.

2. Establish a credit history

A good credit history and credit score can allow you to take advantage of better financial opportunities like low-interest loans and premium credit cards with more perks. If you're a young adult and don't yet have a loan or credit card in your name, you likely have little-to-no credit history. Getting a card in your early 20s can help you establish a credit history to begin to build your credit and work to raise your credit score.

3. Get access to fraud protection

Unfortunately, fraud does happen. There are many different ways for scammers and thieves to take advantage of people and access their money. If you use a debit card, it can be harder to prove fraud, and there may be a waiting period before you get your money back. Credit cards include fraud protection. All you have to do is report fraud when it happens, and then the credit card company will do an investigation. That way, you won't have to worry about losing money in your bank account due to fraud.

4. Have access to a credit card for emergencies

Unfortunately, emergencies tend to be a fact of life, and in many cases, they can cause financial stress. Having a credit card can provide you with access to additional funds in the event of an emergency. That way, you can handle the situation without worrying about how to pay for it.

The bottom line

If you're a young adult, don't ignore the need for a credit card. Just because you think you won't need one doesn't mean having a card won't be useful. It's never too early to start building your credit history or planning for emergencies. Plus, you can learn how to be financially responsible now in order to take advantage of better financial opportunities in the future. If you're looking for your first credit card, take a look at our list of top credit cards to find the right card for your needs.

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