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Got a New Credit Card? Do This as Soon as It Arrives

Apply for a new credit card: Check.
Receive and activate card: Check.
Download mobile app: Wait, why would I do this?

Many reasons, actually! If your credit card issuer offers a mobile app, you can use it to manage your spending, view your monthly statements, report fraud, and much more. Here’s why it’s a good idea to use your card issuer’s app.

You can easily manage your account

The first reason to get your card’s mobile app is that it will make it much easier to keep track of the card and your spending. If you receive it before the card arrives, you may be able to activate it from the app. If you need help with something, you’ll be able to contact customer support (possibly via in-app chat). If you lose your card or accidentally damage it, you can block the account or request a new card. It’s always a good idea to monitor your spending against your credit limit, and the mobile app will allow you to check how much you owe.

Your credit card mobile app will also include the ability to set up mobile alerts so you can review your statement, see new charges, and even stop scammers. It’s a big, scary world, and scammers are eager to get access to your money. If you see an alert for a charge you didn’t make, you can report it as soon as possible.

You can find ways to earn rewards

Chances are, one of the reasons you use credit cards is to take advantage of earning points, cash back, or other rewards on your regular spending. Well, your card’s mobile app can help you in this case too. Card issuers like Chase and American Express have sections in their mobile apps dedicated to promotions and offers for cardholders. For example, you might see an offer to get $20 back if you spend $100 or more at a particular retailer.

I don’t recommend using these deals just for the fun of it (spending $100 you didn’t intend to spend only to get $20 back is equivalent to a loss of $80), but if you find a retailer you normally shop with, by all means, add the offer to your card through the app if you will use it. Keep in mind that it’s rarely automatic to receive cash back or bonus points just for shopping at that retailer; You will usually have to click on the offer to add it to your card.

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You could even get access to your credit score

Some of the best credit cards offer cardholders access to their credit scores. And the cream of the crop will provide you with your FICO® Score, which is particularly useful because 90% of lenders consider it when deciding whether you can borrow money (and the interest rate you get). I recommend making it a priority to find a card that offers this underrated benefit, and you’ll likely be able to see your FICO® Score right in the mobile app, wherever you are.

If you can check your FICO® Score at any time, this will give you an advantage in managing your finances. You’ll be able to see where there’s room for improvement in your score and start making necessary changes (such as paying off debt or improving on making payments on time). And if you’re preparing to borrow money (for example, getting a mortgage), you’ll know where you stand before a lender digs into your finances.

As you can see, your credit card mobile app comes with all kinds of useful features. So when that new card arrives, download the mobile app and use it.

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