Tips for Student Credit Card Safety
Many students get their first credit card while at
college or university.
While credit cards can be a handy way to cover college student
expenses, they can also be potentially dangerous, leading to debt problems,
theft and bad credit ratings if they're not used wisely and safely.
If you're familiar with the Lord of the Rings, take Gandalf's advice about your credit card and
your credit card number: "keep it secret, keep it safe!"
Here are ten tips for keeping your identity, your credit rating, student
credit card information,
and credit card number safe.
1. If you store your personal information on a laptop or other portable
digital storage device, be
sure it's well secured behind an unhackable password. There are many good
password creation and password storage programs
you can purchase that will help you keep track of and securely store personal information such as
passwords and credit card information. Never leave any device that contains
your credit card
information unattended, unlocked, or unsecured.
2. Don't leave your credit card statements laying around. Check them closely
every month to make
sure every purchase listed are actually things you bought. Put the
statements away in a safe place
when you're done with them. Similarly, shred all receipts you receive when
you're sure you don't need them anymore as many stores
actually record your full credit card number right on the receipt. Cross cut
shredders that turn the
paper into confetti are the best.
3. Don't leave your credit card lying around your room, your dorm, your
house. Similarly, don't leave
your wallet or purse laying around where anyone can pick it up and grab your
cash and cards and dash.
4. When you're signing the back of your student credit card, also write the
words "SEE PHOTO ID" in the
signature area. Every cashier is supposed to look at this area and check
your signature whenever your
card is used, so this will help keep thiefs from using your card if they
don't also have your photo
ID. You'll be amazed to see how many cashiers don't even look at the back of
your credit card to see
what you've written.
5. Don't do Internet banking EVER from a public computer terminal or from
your own laptop or wireless
device when on a wireless connection. The chances of that transmission being
picked up and recorded
6. Don't give your credit card number over the phone when you're on a
portable phone or cell phone --
or on any type of phone when you're in public or in earshot of people you don't know.
7. Don't use your credit card to pay for meals at restaurants or anywhere
the person who's taking
payment can walk off with your credit card out of your view then double
swipe your card. Only use
your credit card when you can see and closely watch the person who's putting
your card through.
8. Give your credit card to a cashier with the magnetic stripe facing up so
that people standing
around you can't can’t see the personal information.
9. Cut up your credit card if you're not using it
10. Call the credit card company and tell them to reduce your credit limit
to a very small number so that
if you card is stolen it won't be able to be used to purchase thousands of
dollars of goods. This is also
a good idea for credit cards that you use to purchase online.
Related Reading: College Student Credit Cards
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