Am I eligible for a Mastercard?

Adulthood, good salary, permanent employment... There are a number of myths surrounding eligibility for a credit card but some of them are not quite true. Read when you can and should acquire your first credit card.

Myth 1: You must have turned 18

Right and wrong. It is true that you as a minor cannot yet use a Mastercard of your own: you cannot apply for a combination card - which is a credit card equipped with debit and credit facilities - until you have turned 18. However, minors can have a parallel card to their parents’ credit card.

The parents can set a spending limit on the parallel card to prevent excessive use of the card. There are some situations in which you should consider acquiring a parallel card with a credit facility, such as if you are a minor and move away from home, travel without your parents due to, say, a sports hobby or are about to leave home for a student exchange year. The card brings peace of mind to both you and your parents.

Myth 2: You must be employed

Wrong. A credit card with a credit limit up to 2,000 euros can be granted to university students who have a clean credit history and have no problems with their finances.

Myth 3: You must have a big, regular monthly salary

Right and wrong. When the bank is making the credit decision, it assesses the customer’s financial standing as a whole based on the customer’s history with managing their personal finances. A registered payment default may well prevent getting a credit card. But the customer doesn’t have to earn gigantic sums, as the bank understands that in some sectors short-term employment relationships are typical. If this is the case, the fixed term of the employment will not automatically prevent the customer from having their card application approved.

Myth 4: Applying for a credit card is a long and difficult process

Wrong. For instance, you can apply for a credit card in Netbank with your access codes or by calling Nordea Customer Service. Applications are in general processed in a couple of days, and the whole process from submitting the application to the card’s arrival will take approximately two weeks.

Myth 5: You should not acquire a credit card, as it will drive you into debt

Wrong. A credit card is not just for impulse purchases, but it also provides you with financial security in case of unexpected expenses. For example, students doing occasional short-term jobs may use a credit card to balance their finances. A card also makes travelling and online shopping easier and helps you purchase something a bit more expensive like furniture or a laptop. Still, you should always keep in mind that the cardholder is of course responsible for the card use.

This article by Pauliina Suominen was originally published on 8 June 2015. The article has been later revised. You can find the original article at the address

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