How to Graduate From Your Entry-Level Credit Card

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated July 18, 2019

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July 18, 2019

Simple. Thrifty. Living.


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Entry-level credit cards usually have features that help people learn how to use credit wisely. For example, your first credit card may have a maximum balance of $500. The low balance makes it impossible for you to accumulate too much credit debt.

Eventually, you should learn how to use credit to your advantage. At that point, you may want to learn how to graduate from your entry-level credit card so you can access more perks. The following tips will help you choose a new credit card that matches your needs.

On average, people with credit cards pay 19.24% in interest. The amount of interest that you pay, however, depends on your credit score. Make sure you get a fair offer by researching the current interest rates for your score.

Interest rates change fair often, but you can expect to pay about:

  • 15% with a credit score over 800
  • 19% with a credit score between 700 and 749
  • 20% with a credit score between 640 and 699
  • 22% or higher with a credit score under 640

Always do your research to find a credit card that gives you a fair interest rate. Then you can get the best credit card for your credit score.

Credit card companies may let you charge $15,000 or more to your account. Having access to that much credit, however, doesn’t mean that you need a card with such a high maximum.

Choose a level of credit that you know you can manage. Perhaps you only need access to $1,000 or $5,000. Taking a low offer will help you avoid overspending. If you think that a high maximum will tempt you to spend a lot of money you don’t have, then you should stick to small amounts.

Your next credit may give you perks like:

  • Cash back
  • Reward points
  • Gas points
  • Airline miles
  • Hotel points

Explore offers to find a card with perks that appeal to you. If you don’t travel very often, then you probably don’t need a credit card that gives you airline miles. If you fly frequently, though, airline miles can make traveling cheaper.

Your entry-level credit card has done its job by helping you build credit and learn how to manage your account. Now, it’s time to find a card that matches your lifestyle.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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