Preparation Work

Things to do before applying for any credit cards. Note these strategies are for the U.S. market.

1. Get a SSN:
Although there are ways around this, the simplest way is to get a Social Security Number to build credit history. If you are not a US citizen, you can apply for a SSN once you have a job offer (even on-campus jobs!).

2. Check your score:
The easiest way is to sign up for an account with Credit Karma (which is what I use). Many banks and services (Mint, NerdWallet, etc) will also offer free credit reports, although I found the UI and explanation of your score best using CK. This will help you gauge which cards you may be eligible for and potential factors impacting your score.

3. Determine your goals:
What is your main objective for getting credit cards? There is no single best card, and what is good depends on your individual situation. Figuring out what your needs are will help you determine the best cards for YOU. Here is are some top benefits to help you get started.

My goal is to explore the world and try new experiences that I otherwise could not afford

Next: General Strategy