Are credit cards for college students a wise choice? Some would argue that credit card issuers prey on students from the second they arrive at college – organizing credit card drives, blasting out junk mail credit card offers to dorms and student housing complexes, setting up booths at college job fairs and social events. Others argue that students themselves can be at fault for blindly rushing into credit card agreements without understanding some of the potential pitfalls that can accompany a student credit card. Here are some things that all college students should know about student credit cards.
#1 Learn How to Use Credit Wisely
It could very well be that the best credit card for a college student is none at all! However, it could also be true that the sooner a college student gets a credit card then the better off they will be! So how do you reconcile both of these statements? Well, the first statement is true only if the college student does not first understand how to use credit wisely and even better understand how to make their credit card work for them and not against them.
The more that one treats a credit card like a debit card only spending money when they know that they have the funds in the bank to pay off the card balance in full at the end of the month the better of a financial situation the student will build for themselves both in the present and in the future.
If students can discipline themselves to pay off the card balance in full every month and the student takes advantage of some of the popular cash back credit cards that offer cash back rewards of up to 5% back on certain purchases then it is as if every purchase the student makes is bought with a coupon that gives up to 5% off! That is an example of not only using credit wisely but making credit work for the credit card owner and not vice versa.
#2 Build Your Credit Score
One of the absolute HUGE benefits to using a credit card early and often as a college student (or even high school student) is that every purchase and every on time payment made to the card works to build your credit history and in turn increase your credit score.
One of the biggest factors that determine a person’s credit score is length of credit history. The longer a person has shown responsible usage of credit then the better that person’s credit score will be. The better a person’s credit score will be then the easier it will be for that person to get a loan for a car, get a mortgage to buy a house, get better interest rates on all of their loans, get an apartment to rent – the list goes on and on.
Building your credit at a young age is something that you will thank yourself for doing years down the road. It is much better to determine to increase your credit score years in advance of trying to purchase that first home rather than desperately scrambling to increase your credit score in any way possible (by then it’s often too late as increasing your credit score is a slow and steady month by month process) and qualify for a mortgage in the few months leading up to the purchase.
The first step to improving your credit score is to know what your credit score is and then take steps to build your credit score, correct any mistakes that may be on your credit report, and then monitor your credit score.
Visit the free credit report page to compare some of the various services that offer free credit reports along with enrollment into their credit report monitoring services.
#3 Be Proactive
One of the biggest mistakes that students make when choosing a credit card is to just blindly accept the first card that happens to send them an invitation to apply. While this mistake is not unique to students as many people well out of school do the same thing it is nonetheless not a good way to go about finding the best student credit card.
Be proactive in your search – if you decide that you want a credit card then make a list of the best credit cards for college students (of course let us help make it easy on you by using our free credit card “Chaser” tool on our home page to find and compare tons of student cards in a snap) and find the card that has the features that you want.
Avoid filling out student credit card applications just because you happen to receive a piece of junk mail from a particular credit card company. You can find the best credit cards for college students. Bad credit even at a young age should not stop you from taking the bull by the horns, doing your homework, and doing a little research to find the very best college student credit card. Low interest rates can be had if you are willing to put some effort into your search. Let us help provide the tools you need to find and compare student credit cards. Use the free credit card “Chaser” tool to “chase” down and compare top credit cards today!
- College Students and Credit Cards: Hit or Miss?
- Citi Platinum Select Card for College Students
- College Student Credit Card Tips – Top 10 Credit Card Tips for New College Students
- The College Students Guide to the Dangers of Credit Cards
- Fresno State University Credit Card
- Where can I get the best student credit card rates?
- The Golden 1 Credit Union Student Visa