There are a wide variety of credit cards for students to choose from. How do you choose the one that suits you best and helps you form good financial habits?
Student credit cards are widely available and surprisingly easy to get your hands on. But what do people use them for? And is it really a good idea to take on even more debt while you're in college?
When you're choosing a credit card, you'll want to look at the factors that give you the best value for your money. No one can see into the future and know exactly how they'll end up using their credit card, but try to imagine the types of situations where you're most likely to need your credit card.
Is traveling important to you? Or earning rewards at particular stores? Do you plan to optimize their rewards system or would you just prefer a card with low fees?
Credit cards for college students can have a variety of fees. Be sure to check the annual fees and make sure if there are any other fees you'll need to pay throughout the year. Credit card debt is incredibly expensive, so it's important to understand exactly how and when you need to pay back any money that you've borrowed on your card.
Many students use their credit cards during college to start building a good credit score. Those students typically pay off any debt on their cards before they actually pay interest on the money owed.
If you're sure that's how you'll use your card, then the interest rate won't really make a difference to you and shouldn't be a big factor in choosing a card. Even the best-laid plans can get off track though, so it's a good idea to avoid cards with excessively high interest rates
If you actually plan to use the card's credit facility though, then the interest rate that they offer is probably the most important factor that you need to consider. Credit card debt is expensive debt and the interest rates are way higher than almost any other type of loan you'll come across.
As a student, finances are usually tight, but you also have a large variety of funding options available. There's a good chance you'll need to take on debt while you're in college. So, do your research and choose the cheapest debt available.
Most student credit cards of some sort of rewards program. Typically, they'll give you a percentage of what you spend back every time you swipe. These rewards programs usually give you points that can be spent in a variety of ways. Choose a card that gives you a higher percentage of rewards and make sure that you can spend the points in ways that are valuable to you.
Yes! That's right, a signing up bonus! Some cards offer a bonus just for signing up. Banks want to get students to use their products and signing up bonuses are a great way to attract them. Most cards require you to actually use the card to receive the sign-up bonus.
Signing up bonuses can be reasonably large, but don't let them fool you. Remember to weigh all the factors before you choose a student credit card.
Building your credit score is a great reason to get a student credit card. Using a credit card and then consistently making card payments in time is an effective and easy way to build your credit score. Remember, it's always first prize to pay the card down before any interest is due. When it comes to building your credit score, simply paying on time is all that is required.
No worries! Student credit cards aren't just for people with good credit scores. Your options will be much more limited, but you can still get a student credit card even with a bad credit score. These cards typically offer a much smaller amount of credit and might even require a deposit. They're a great way to start improving your credit score without much risk of taking on new debt.
There are loads of great resources online to help you finish college with good financial habits. Save.com is an excellent website to have a look at. Apart from some really great coupons and savings, they have a whole section of articles that will help you learn about your personal finances and make the best money decisions.
There isn't a best credit card for students, but there probably is a best card for you. If you're looking for a more detailed comparison of student credit cards, there are some great resources online that really dive deep into the pros and cons of each card with detailed lists of all their features and costs. Our top five (in no particular order) should help point you in the right direction.