Credit cards have become a staple in America and everyone seems to want one. Obtaining one requires you to give some information about yourself to your bank. This includes your full name, date of birth, social security number, physical address and an estimate of your gross annual income. This information is required by Federal law and is used for identification purposes.

Details like social security number are used to find your credit bureau data so as to process the application. It takes an average of two weeks to receive your card after applying.

Access and charges

It is important to keep your card and PIN safe because these enable you to access your account. If you lose your card, ensure that you report it to your bank as soon as possible. This will protect you from liability in the event that someone uses your card for a purchase during that time. It will also be blocked and replaced. If you forget your PIN you should contact your bank to help you retrieve or change it.

Also contact your bank if you suspect that your card is being used fraudulently by someone else.

If there is an amount charged to your card yet you are certain you didn’t make that purchase or any other error on your credit card statement, call your bank immediately. The charge will be investigated to determine whether it was included inappropriately.

Security

Credit card technology has evolved from magnetic strip to chip technology. Cards that have to be swiped to authorize a purchase usually have a magnetic strip on them. Keep such cards away from magnets because magnets will scramble the data on them and render your card useless. Chip technology requires that you insert your card face up into the terminal and you may or may not be required to insert your PIN depending on whether it is enabled. Chip technology is however more secure than the magnetic strip.

In the event that you have to travel out of your state or out of the country be sure to let your card company or bank know. This will ensure that your transactions outside your regular area are approved instead of being flagged as suspicious.

Information about your card shared over the Internet on the card company’s or bank’s website is usually encrypted. This means that only the website owners will be able to decipher it meaning that it is safe.