11 Things to Do When Getting a New Credit Card

Read Time: 5 minutes

I have opened 6 new credit cards in the past 2 years. That may sound crazy to some of you, but don’t worry. I’m not drowning in debt. In fact quite the opposite.

If you are responsible, you can earn over $1,000 just from opening a credit card, like I did here. I take my credit extremely seriously. So much so, that I have 10 steps I go through every single time I get a new credit card, before I swipe the card even once.

Read on to learn the 10 steps I take with each new credit card I get. Let’s get to it.

1. Check My Credit Score

Before I apply for any new credit card, I first check what my current credit scores are. This is important for a couple reasons:

  • If you verify your credit score is in good shape, you can be more likely to get approved for the credit card.
  • It’s useful to know what your score is before and after you apply for the credit card, so you can learn how a hard inquiry affects your score.

Click here to watch how I check & track my credit scores.

2. Unfreeze My Credit

Next, I have to temporarily unfreeze my credit, so the bank can run a credit check on me.

I keep my credit frozen to help protect myself from identity theft. Freezing your credit is now free, and temporarily unfreezing to apply for credit cards is super easy. It takes me only 10-15 minutes to unfreeze my credit from the top 4 credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Transunion & Innovis).

Click these links to freeze your credit today at Equifax, Experian, Transunion & Innovis.

3. Apply for Credit Card

This step is obvious. Of course you have to apply for the card to get approved.

But one thing I try to do is sign up through affiliate links from credit card experts I learn from. My two favorite are Ask Sebby & Credit Shifu. Signing up through their affiliate links helps support the great content they put out.

If you want to learn more about credit cards, I highly recommend checking out their website & YouTube channels.

4. Activate Credit Card

After I get approved for a card, it usually ships to my apartment within 1-2 weeks. The card will have instructions on how to activate it.

Usually there are multiple ways to activate a card, such as calling a number or logging into your online account. Do whichever is convenient for you.

5. Add Credit Card Information to 1Password

If you’ve read my post about 1Password, you know I am a raving fan of this amazing service. For those who don’t know, 1Password is a password manager. That means you can create extremely secure and unique passwords without needing to memorize each one. As somebody who takes online security very seriously, 1Password is life-changing.

In addition to passwords, you can store other secure data in 1Password, such as credit card information. That way I can have all my credit information in one secure and convenient place.

6. Add Credit Card to Apple Wallet

Sometimes I don’t want to carry my wallet around. Other times I just forget. Luckily I almost always have my phone on me though. So by adding cards to my Apple Wallet, I can always have my cards with me.

Even though I don’t use Apple Wallet every time, it’s nice to have a backup. Just in case.

7. Download iPhone Application

This one is for pure convenience. Virtually every bank and credit card company has a phone application nowadays.

These apps keep adding more and more functionality, to the point where I can’t remember the last time I logged into any of my credit card accounts on my laptop anymore. The phone apps are just so convenient.

I can check my balance, credit score, cancel a card, or even make a payment if I need to.

8. Go Paperless

Many credit card companies default you to paper statements. I hate getting mail when I can just get an email instead, and it’s better for the environment. Two birds with one stone. Just go paperless.

9. Turn on Automatic Payments

This one is HUGE. Every credit card I own is set to automatically pay the full statement balance, every month, from my linked checking account.

I am very responsible with making my credit card payments on time. Sometimes I even make multiple payments per month to help boost my credit score. Click here to read more about that. But just in case I forgot, I know my payment would be made anyways.

To this date I have never paid a penny of interest on my credit cards, and turning automatic payments is how I plan to keep it that way.

10. Add card to my mint profile

I am HUGE on tracking my spending and saving each month. Doing so helps me stay disciplined. It also points out which areas I spend the most money on (travel & food). But tracking all my purchases, especially with so many credit card, can get tedious. And if it’s too tedious, I know I won’t keep it up.

I use Mint to track all my spending automatically. It’s a game changer. You just sync all your accounts you use for spending, like bank accounts, credit & debit cards, and it sucks in all the transactions each night. It also categorizes them for you.

If you don’t have Mint, you’re missing out.

11. Put Credit Card in Wallet

Last, but not least, I put the new card in my wallet. This may sound easy, but there is actually some thought that goes into it.

I don’t like carrying all my credit cards around with me at once. It’s just not necessary. So when I add a new card to my wallet, it must make sense for my everyday use. Maybe I am using it to reach a signup bonus. Or maybe it will replace my other dining credit card.

Knowing how to maximize each swipe with the best card can help you optimize your spending and earn more rewards.

Wrapping It All Up

So there you have it. My 10 step process that I do with every new credit card I get. It’s a little bit OCD, but it works.

This process keeps me secure, organized, efficient, stress-free, and even environmentally friendly. 

Tell me what your process is down in the comments below.