Tips for Student Credit Card Useage
It seems that everywhere you look these days there's a new college student credit card offer. Credit card companies simply love college students because college students have an abundance of disposable income (can you say student loans?) and are the fastest growing group of credit users. Many credit cards are offered designed specifically to appeal to college and university students.
As with most things, and the use of student credit cards is no different, the key to successful use of credit is moderation. Wise students can take advantage of the responsible use of a credit card, while irresponsible use of credit most always results in unmanageable student credit card debt.
There are clear advantages and disadvantages to credit card use. Weigh the advantages and disadvantages of signing up for and using a credit card before you jump in and sign up.
Advantages of College Student Credit Cards
- Getting a student credit card enables students to slowly build their credit, assuming they pay their bills on time every month. A strong, reliable line of credit is a great goal for graduation.
- Credit card statements are a quick way to keep track of where your money goes each month.
- Some credit cards enable you to collect airmiles or aeroplan or other points programs which can be exchanged for merchandise, or can help reduce the cost of your flight home at Christmas to visit the folks, or for that Spring Break trip to Forida.
- Not having to carry around a lot of cash can be much safer
- Credit cards can get you out of a temporary jam if you need some cash to pay for books or tuition or rent if you're short one month
Disadvantages of College Student Credit Cards
- High interest rates on student credit cards (after a brief initial low interest rate just to get you signed up and comfy using the card).
- Credit card use can be addictive to some. Credit cards make it so easy and painless to spend money that many students simply purchase without thinking and don't consider how they'll pay off their purchases.
- Missing payments can result in even higher interest rates.
- Credit cards enable you to spend money you don't have.
Student Credit Cards Tips
- Decide whether you really need a credit card or not. Consider your personality and ability to budget. If you don't think you'll be able to manage paying off your credit card debt every month entirely, don't get one.
- Think very hard before you sign up for more than one credit card. It can be a slipperly slope when you max out one card and start spending on another student credit card.
- Pay your total credit card bill every month. If you can't pay it all, pay as much as possible. Don't leave an ongoing balance on your credit card and treat it like a bank. That's just dumb.
- Watch for mistakes and over-billings on your credit card bills and monthly statement. There will be mistakes, we guarantee it. Your not catching them is the same as volunteering to give your money away.
- Make note of the phone number you have to call if you lose or someone steals your credit card.
- Read the fine print. Read it again. Understand what you're signing. Shop around and find a better deal -- there are dozens of college student credit cards out there to choose from.
Related Reading: College Student Credit Cards
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