When you open a new credit card account, be sure to carefully read the credit card customer agreement and the account opening disclosures. This contract is the primary document you will receive when opening a credit card account. If you’d like to learn more about credit cards, you can click for more info.
Online Services & Bill Pay
If you have a credit card that lets you pay your bills and access your credit card account online, read the online offer carefully. Some offers have limits or application requirements. Read each individual offer carefully and contact your financial institution directly with any questions you may have. In addition, all new accounts are required to be opened through a financial institution. For more information, read the Do I Need a Traditional Credit Card? section above.
Get a Social Security Number (SSN)
One of the most significant things to consider when opening a credit card account is the need to obtain a Social Security number (SSN). An SSN is a number assigned by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to identify individuals who live in the United States and work for the U.S. government. SSNs are needed to open a bank account, access most banking services, apply for loans and enroll in federal benefits programs such as Social Security.
An SSN is also required to open credit cards and most retail store accounts (including gas stations, convenience stores and supermarkets) as well as to obtain certain credit card services, such as chargebacks. Many credit cards require an SSN or a “driver’s license number.”
You may need to apply for an SSN in advance to use your credit card on certain new financial institutions and to obtain some services. Some credit cards have a minimum number of inquiries required to obtain the SSN. The minimum is usually one inquiry. Contact your financial institution with any questions you may have regarding SSNs. If you are not yet age 18 or 21 when you apply for a credit card, you should not apply for an SSN at this time.