Getting Credit Cards in College – a Guide for Young College Students

Getting Credit Cards in College – a Guide for Young College Students

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Credit is important, especially when it’s time to buy or lease a house, an apartment, or a car. While parents can help you build your credit by adding you onto their own accounts, that’s not the case for everyone.

Going to college is a huge step in your life, and credit companies will have you believe that it is the perfect opportunity to start working on your credit. This may not be entirely wrong, but you should be cautious about applying for student credit cards.

Low Credit – No Credit?

Student credit cards often don’t require you to have much credit history, which makes them perfect for young adults that are looking to build their credit. The bad part? Any credit cards that don’t require you to have much credit history allow you to apply for several, and you can end up with more than you can handle.

While it’s beneficial to take advantage of a student credit card while you’re in college, you can quickly become overwhelmed if you don’t limit yourself. Once you’ve graduated, it can become even more of a burden if you have student loans to pay off as well as several credit card bills.

Income Matters – Both to You and Credit Companies

When applying for a credit card, whether it’s a student card or otherwise, credit companies do take your income into consideration. If you don’t have an income, your credit card application is more likely to be declined. If you’re working a part-time job, you are more likely to get approved.

However, as long as you have a balance on your card of more than $25, your minimum payment is usually $25, depending on the credit card company. Make sure you avoid taking on too many bills for your income – credit cards should not be a way to pay your bills.

Different Cards = Different Benefits

If you are considering getting a student credit card, you should look at your options. Several different benefits are offered on different cards, including cash back and lack of fees.

  • The Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students (www.creditcards.citicards.com) offers reward points, a $0 fee, and 0% APR for 7 months.
  • The Discover It for Students (www.discovercard.com) is nice for students with a 3.0 GPA or higher since it offers $20 cash back each school year their GPA is 3.0 or higher, for up to 5 years after signing up. It offers 5% cash back with double cash back during the first year and a $0 fee.
  • The Journey Student Credit Card by Capital One (www.capitalone.com) offers 1% cash back rewards and a $0 fee.

These are not the only three credit cards offered to students, however, and it’s best to research the benefits of several credit cards before choosing which one to apply for.

Weigh the Cost Before You Apply

Not just the fees and the monthly payment, either.

Is it worth getting a credit card while you are in college?

Do you have the income to cover the payments?

Will you be using the credit card for emergencies only or trying to keep a balance to build your credit?

You should make sure you are prepared before you apply for a credit card. If it’s not the best option for you at the current moment, there are other options to help your credit. See if your parents are able to add you to one of theirs as an authorized user, even if you don’t have access to using the card, it still affects your credit.

However, if you think you’re ready for a credit card of your own, look at your student credit card options.

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Categories: Credit Cards, Money Tips