If you are a student looking for a credit card, you will find that there is a surprising array available to you. Students looking for the best credit card interest rates should carefully research all their options based on APR, different fees, rewards and benefits, before settling on one student credit card.
Use the FREE credit card finder to select the best credit card rates for students and step into the adult word of money management!
Credit card companies offer specially designed credit cards for students, most of who have minimal or zero credit history. Given the lack of FICO scores, most financial institutions that provide credit cards to students hedge their gamble by applying high interest rates, low credit limits, and stringent terms and conditions.
Student Credit Cards: Freedom or Future Debt
Student credit cards are a valuable financial instrument. If you are paying off your student credit card balance in full and on time, not only are you getting the cheapest loan in the market but you are also building up your credit history.
Demonstrating such financial responsibility will help you in several situations after graduation, from passing background checks for renting property to getting low insurance rates.
According to a 2009 Sallie Mae study cited in U.S. News and World Report, spiraling debt has become an increasing problem for college students. The report found that 20% of seniors carry more than $7,000 in debt. So use your student credit card carefully since it has strict terms and conditions, besides higher-than-usual credit card interest rates.
Financial gurus have the following advice for college students using credit cards. Most importantly, make sure you read the fine print and know all the details of your student credit card agreement. For instance, some student credit card companies will close your account if you miss one credit card payment, doing substantial damage to your credit history.
Student credit cards have higher interest rates and should carry zero balance. In other words, use the card carefully and pay off all your balance on time. Keep your credit limit low. A $500 limit should suffice.
Understand the terms and conditions of your rewards program. Don’t hesitate to ask questions about how points can be redeemed, terms of expiration, among others.
Make sure you understand all the different fees levied by your student credit card company. From cash withdrawal charges, late fees, bounced check fees, to monthly maintenance fees, every credit card company has a different structure.
Make sure that your credit card company is reporting all your transaction to the three credit rating agencies. This is very important since you are building your credit history by using the student credit card.
The Signs: A Good Student Credit Card
With the credit card market teeming with multiple seemingly attractive student credit card offers, it is very important for students to understand what good terms and conditions mean, what sort of benefits they are seeking, and what rewards programs work for them.
Some of the important markers of a good student credit card are:
- No annual fee
- An attractive introductory APR that lasts more than a year. Under the CARD Act of 2009, a teaser introductory APR has to remain fixed for a minimum term of six months. Be aware that if you miss making your payments for more than 60 days, your APR will automatically jump to a higher punitive rate, as stated in your agreement.
- Reasonable APR after the teaser term has expired
- Monthly reporting to the three credit rating agencies
- Automatic payment reminders to avoid late fees and interest charges
- A good rewards structure with options such as discounts on purchases at your bookstore etc.
Protecting the Young: The Legal Barriers
The CARD Act of 2009 sets down stringent rules for credit card companies that impacted how they dealt with student consumers.
Students had to be qualified for credit cards. In other words, they had to show minimum income or savings that indicates the ability to pay their monthly balance. If they do not qualify, students needed a co-signor, who would be responsible for any outstanding debt.
Credit card companies can no longer market their offers using promotional gifts, coupons, or services, on the grounds of colleges and universities.
Additionally, academic institutions and their alumni associations have to declare dealings with credit card companies that result in marketing agreements.
With such protections in place, students are less likely to fall prey to unfair business practices of credit card companies. Yet student credit cards are here to stay and if properly used can help ease financial strain of those penurious college years.
Use the FREE credit card finder and get a credit card that is smart and cool!
- Sikorsky Financial Credit Union Visa Student Credit Card
- College Students and Credit Cards: Hit or Miss?
- Are credit card rates for students lower than normal?
- Is there such things as student loan credit cards?
- What are school credit cards for?
- Citibank Citi Forward Card for College Students
- Fresno State University Credit Card