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When did You Get Your First Credit Card ?

I got my first credit card ( a CIBC Visa with a $500 credit limit) at the CIBC in the basement of the University of Waterloo’s Federation of Students building. What was ironic was that I had applied my first year and was turned down, but as soon as I could prove I was in the CO-OP program, suddenly I was a good enough risk to get the card. At the time I really only used the card to buy books, and rarely even carried it with me.

Credit Card security

These days all three of my daughters have had offers to give them Credit Cards, and my assumption is that it is mostly on the back of my income (i.e. if she gets a card, Daddy will pay it off for her), which infuriates me (I believe I swear loudly and tear up the “complimentary credit card offer” letter shows up, every time (at least that is what my wife tells me)).

Now you can even buy “pre-loaded” Credit Cards for kids to use, that sound interesting, but I haven’t used one, so I can neither confirm nor deny that it is a good idea.

This whole topic started with a discussion I was having with my Mother and she voiced to me how concerned she was back in 1982 when I got a Credit Card, which really does show the difference in the generations. My Mother’s generation has always viewed a Credit Card as a dangerous liability that must be closely managed and carefully used (I am paraphrasing, and generalizing), because my generation seems to have a more “Magic Money” attitude towards instant Credit that the Credit Card gives you.

When Did You Get Your First Credit Card

OK readers, when did you get your first Credit Card? How old were you, and why did you get it?

Feel Free to Comment

  1. Got one just before university and held one or two, ever since.

    I felt like a champ when I used it at the bar once during my first year. Then came the $150 tab the next month. That was on buck-a-beer night as well. I can’t imagine what the bill would be today….crazy.


  2. Had just bought my first used car, and thought I should have a backstop for emergency road repairs. I was denied, despite having an income.

    They give credit to dead people and dogs so, I tried again a few months later, denied again. Asked why and was told I had an outstanding unpaid balance on a Kmart Card. I had never had ANY cards so I did not know what that was about. So I got them to give me the account number, (If it is mine, you can give me the account number right?) and called Kmart’s credit department.
    I asked to speak to them about account number xxxxxx, and find out how much was owed and such… so they happily gave me the information, and it seemed that it really was a valid debt, but when I asked just as a giggle “Correct last name, but lets get all the details!”, and it turned out that the first name was right, second name wrong, and third name wrong, and last name was right. So I explained who I was and that they were destroying my good name by having someone else’s debt in my name.
    It took a week, but it was removed, and I was able to get a credit card and begin my deep slide into the hell that eventually led to my bankruptcy some 20 years later. Now I have a single credit card with a low limit, and is only used when I have the cash to pay it off in it’s entirety. I am approaching the end of the first year of having this card, and have not yet paid any interest despite maxing it out 3 times. Usually there is nothing on it, but lets face it, an airline ticket maxes it out easily here in Canada.
    Never again will I get into debt like I did though. Never again!

  3. I got my first credit card mid-way through University and when I had a full time job. It was so long ago that I hardly remember the details. For the first part of my University education, I managed with a single combined chequing/savings account and a strict budget.

    I am not a fan of credit cards. Today, Lindsay and I only use a single joint card. There is a second card for emergencies if the first card is compromised. Otherwise it is never used.

    One trick to use with those numerous credit card offers: Write “take me off your list” on the application and mail it back in the prepaid envelope. Not only do they pay the postage, they have to process the request. It takes up a lot of their time.

    With today’s pressures, I doubt that it is possible to go solely with cash and checks, anymore. Also, prepaid credit cards are not really credit cards but a cash card. There is no credit agreement in place and they are backed up with an automatic bank account debit. It is just another way for the credit card companies to extend the brand and compete against interact.

  4. I got my first credit card when I was 15. Don’t ask me how I got approved. I have no idea but I think it entailed some fudging of numbers. I didn’t have a parent co-sign.

      1. I think I said I made more money than what I really made and I am not sure but I think I lied about my age as well. Apparently, they didn’t check my social security number and date of birth.

  5. I signed up for my first credit card before I left for university. Having received my university acceptance, TD saw fit to allow me a credit card with a $500 balance. I also signed up for one of those GM credit cards in the University of Waterloo SLC, but just to get the free CD that came with applying. I wasn’t too upset when my application for that card was declined 🙂

  6. I got my first credit card after university. I needed it to book airline tickets and rent cars for work. (We were reinbursed but had to pay initially ourselves using a personal card.)

    I didn’t use it for anything else and still seldom use a card unless it’s to buy something online, book a hotel, or for planes/trains/and automobiles. (rentals)

  7. I have once child in university and they have a credit card. It’s used for gas, books, and the other expenses that we share with them. When the statement comes in, my wife simply pays our share of the expenses from our account and their share from their account. Works well.

    It got used once for consumer debt that it shouldn’t have (worse, my wife was there). But we had a ‘chat’ about it and I think lesson learned.

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