Credit Cards
June 18, 2022

5 top credit card tips for graphic designers

Choose a business credit card if you have a lot of business-related expenses, make the most of any card’s perks.

If you're a graphic designer, it's likely you’re self-employed or you take on a lot of freelance work in your field. When handling your own income, it can be intimidating any time you make a financial decision, including the best way to use your credit cards. 

The key is to be intentional with your credit card usage. Credit cards can help you build a credit history and improve your credit score when used correctly. 

1. Choose between a business and personal card

One of the first decisions you need to make as a graphic designer looking for a credit card is whether you should go for a business account or a personal one. 

If you find you have a lot of business expenses, it may benefit you to open a business credit card, which will often offer great perks and higher credit limits. 

You might find a credit card essential for work-related expenses until a client reimburses you or your next invoice is paid. Credit cards can help finance your business, paying for business-related expenses until your cash flow allows you to pay off your bills.

However, if you only have limited business expenses, a personal credit card will do just fine. Personal credit cards can offer plenty of perks while helping you build your credit. You can also always open up a business credit card later. It’s also best to start with a personal card, because some banks won't allow you to put personal expenses on a business card. 

2. Take advantage of rewards

Many credit cards offer some type of rewards program. You can choose a card that gives you flight miles, hotel points, cash back or other incentives – perks you’ll actually use in your business or your personal life. 

When you're choosing a credit card, pick one that has a rewards program you’ll use. If you don't fly a lot, don't choose a credit card that offers miles because you won't utilize the card to its full potential. 

Some cards also offer bonus rewards on certain purchases or during specific periods. If you choose a card with this option, make sure you keep up with the requirements or restrictions to make the most of them. 

3. Weigh the annual fees

Speaking of rewards, some of the cards with the best rewards systems come with an annual fee. It's important to decide if the cost of the fee is worth the benefits that come with the card. 

The answer will be different for everyone, so be honest with yourself. Before choosing a card that charges this fee, look for a card without an annual fee that offers similar perks. 

4. Be intentional with your spending

As a graphic designer, your income can fluctuate from month to month. Because of this, it's important to be careful about how many charges you're making on your credit card. Make sure you aren't over-using your credit card and only charge items that you know you can pay off. 

Some people choose to only charge big items on their credit card, while others choose to purchase all their fuel or groceries. Either of these tactics is great. The key is to manage your plan well, so you don't carry large balances from month to month. 

5. Take time to research

One of the biggest mistakes people make when looking for a credit card is choosing the first one they come across. Opening a line of credit is a serious decision, and it should be treated that way. 

Take all the time you need to narrow down your list of potential cards, then read reviews on the card itself, the issuer, and the rewards redemption process. A card may sound great, but if most people who have the card dislike it, you'd be better off to keep looking. 

How to apply for a credit card as a graphic designer

If you're self-employed, the application process for a credit card is similar to anyone else's, though you have to do the extra steps of figuring out your income. Here's what you'll need to get together before starting your application.

  • Proof of income: While traditional workers can use payslips, if you're self-employed, this may not be an option. Most credit card lenders will accept a tax return or an expense tracker. The key here is to have two years of income proof, if possible. 
  • Savings: Having money set aside that you can show to your credit lender can help the bank trust that you are smart with your money. This is super important if you don't have a "traditional" income.
  • Credit history: Like with anyone, the better your credit history and credit score are, the higher your chances of getting approved. Your income and savings only account for so much when it comes to the lender's decision on your application. 

When you're a graphic designer, your income can be inconsistent and nontraditional. Because of these differences, many in the field worry that they shouldn't open up a credit card account. The truth is that a credit card can be a great financial tool for any graphic designer. 

Recommended Readings:

The 5 best credit cards to build your credit score in 2022

5 tips for paying off credit card debt before interest rates start rising in 2022

Valerie Johnston
Content Writer
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