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Excited to own your very first credit card? For some reason, owning a card seems to somehow officiate you as a responsible adult. Your first credit card can be a step towards a robust financial future and an excellent credit score. But it can also easily blur the line on your financials, which can then lead you to a mountain of debt.

 

Hence, it’s essential that you make an informed decision when choosing the right credit card that best suits you. Are you ready to find out? Keep scrolling! 

What should I look for when choosing a credit card?

If you have been going through comparison sites like RinggitPlus, iMoney, CompareHero or even browse through the many credit card selections on banks’ websites (like CIMB), you'll discover plenty of options out there – all with different perks to boot. There are credit cards that offer cash back/cash rebate, bonus points, travel insurance and even instalment plans! With so many options, how do you find the right one?

 

The trick is to determine what you need in a credit card: Do you mostly shop online? Or looking for a credit card for your petrol needs? Perhaps you need one purely for emergency purposes, or to make purchases in instalments without any extra charge. Maybe you would like to travel in the future and looking for ways to offset your overseas/travel spend.

 

From here onwards, you can refine your search to find a card that will benefit you and your lifestyle the most.  

 

So, can I find the right credit card via CIMB?

 

 

We’d like to think so! For example, if you mostly do your purchases online (and an avid e-wallet user), the CIMB e Credit Card might offer great perks for you. This card gives you 10x bonus on online shopping, food delivery and e-wallet topups, plus earn 12x bonus points and get special deals on the 10th of every month, with featured partners.

 

The points you earn can be redeemed for rewards, such as e-vouchers, or even be used to make payments with CIMB’s Pay with Points feature. To find out more about the CIMB e Credit Card, you can visit the product page here. We also have other cards fitting for young professionals like yourself, just take a browse here. If you do decide to get a credit card with us, you get to enjoy a RM150 cash back as a sign-up reward with the CIMB Young Professional Campaign.

What are the benefits of owning a credit card?

 

A credit card is not a necessity, but you can leverage on its advantages. For example, you can use a credit card to make upfront payments for big purchases. It is also quite convenient. You can use it to automate bill payments like your telco bills, insurance/takaful, Netflix subcription and others. Travel bookings or pre-bookings can be done easily too – you can use your card as a security deposit for booking confirmation (at no extra cost). 

 

Depending on the credit card, you can earn cash back, rewards and enjoy deals from your participating bank. Another advantage of using a credit card responsibly? You get to build up your credit score – which will come in handy for future financing/loan applications such as housing, hire purchase and more. 

Are there any extra costs? 

There are definitely a few fees that you have to keep in mind when using a credit card. This includes interest rates, annual fees and other additional fees.

 

Interest Rates

Just like any loan facilities, credit cards do charge an interest rate on the outstanding balance. Hence, make it a habit to always pay off your credit card charges before the due date to avoid additional interest charges.

 

Annual Fee

Most credit cards do impose an annual fee, however, this can be waived off based on the credit card transaction’s requirements.

 

Other Additional Fees

Take note as well of other additional charges including late payment charges, ATM withdrawal fees, foreign currency fees and charges for exceeding the credit limit. 

 

Service Tax

There is also a RM25 service tax that comes with owning a credit card. This was implemented in 2018 for all credit cards in Malaysia, and the tax will be imposed on each card upon activation and annual renewal of the said card. 

Should I own more than one credit card?   

This may be a common concern but owning more than one credit card might help boost and strengthen your credit score, making it easier for you to keep your debt utilisation ratio low. However, it can be harder for you to manage. If you aren’t financially steady, owning multiple credit cards can be dangerous because it exposes you to a higher chance of missing payments for a specific account and potentially drowning you in debt.

 

The rule of thumb is if you’re not able to pay your balances on time and in full, commit to just one card for now.

 

While there are many benefits to keeping a credit card in your wallet, but there are some risks, too. The main risk is raking up debt – so always ensure that you’re able to make payments every month, or set a credit limit to an amount that you’re comfortable with.

 

 

When used strategically, credit cards can help you establish a solid credit history, help you manage your finances better, earn rewards on everyday purchases and obtain interest-free payment plans. The trick to using these benefits is to use them to pay for items you’d buy anyway, and not use it as a tool to spend beyond what you're able to. Also, always remember to pay your bill in full and on time every month to keep your credit utilisation rate low.

 

 

This article is brought to you by CIMB as part of our ongoing efforts to raise the level of financial literacy among Malaysians. Financial knowledge and understanding are key to making well-informed and meaningful financial decisions that will improve all our well-being. This, in turn, achieves CIMB’s purpose of advancing customers and society.