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Student Credit Cards & Their Uses
Need of Student Credit Card
Facts & Myths
Choosing The Best Card
Card Approval Process
Building Good Credit
Student Credit Cards & Their Uses

At present when plastic money like credit and debit cards are reigning high, no doubt card issuers will have specific target customers to widen the market and maximize the profit. Students and Student Credit Cards are part of this target where the college and university goers can have specific credit cards according to their budget and with attractive offers. Students can avail these cards for several ripping several benefits while at the same time they have to be very careful in using them as the cards can prove to be a burden in the disguise of a blessing if not handled properly.

Now what are the benefits of having a student card that the students should consider before having one? Well, here are some points to guide you through:

  • The main benefit that a student can get from the student credit cards is the awareness of managing their money in a better way.
  • A student card helps the student know at an early stage about the interests, the payments, fees, consequences of late payments and many more which make their sense of financial responsibility stronger.
  • If a student builds up a good credit history with his/her student credit cards, they will reap greater benefit while applying for other cards or loans for home and cars.
  • A good credit report can help enormously in securing a good job as well. There are certain employers who would like to see that their employee is good in managing his/her finances which undoubtedly create a positive impression.

Sounds good, right? After all, student credit cards are associated with a sense of freedom as well that is not easy to overlook. But then to enjoy this freedom, you need to be really picky while it comes to the choice of the card. There are a number of card issuers with a wide range of amazing offers on the student credit cards just to widen their market of customers. But remember that student credit cards have a higher interest rate than the others and also a low credit limit. These can pose problem for you in the near future if you fail to make the monthly payment. However, there are certain other points as well, that you should consider before you rush to apply for your first credit card. Here are some tips:

  • Interest Rates: Most of the student credit cards charge an interest rate in between 19-23%. But even then there are some student discounts available which can bring down the interest rate in between 10-15%. While at first this seems to be a very lower charge, while you start making payments and sometimes if you become unable to make the payment, this can also seem very high as interest rates can accumulate very fast. So the wise way out is to fish for a student credit card that has lower interest rate from beginning. This will ensure that you don’t miss the monthly bill payment.
  • Credit Limit: Student credit cards generally come with a very low credit limit. Before applying for one, you should also consider this aspect and compare several cards that will give you a better understanding regarding which card will suit you better if credit limit is major factor for you while choosing the card. Generally the credit limit you get is in between $500 to $1500.
  • Rewards: One benefit and great lure of the student credit cards are the rewards that most of these cards come packed with. While some cards offer a limited percentage of cash back offer, there are student cards which offer reward points which the student can redeem for exciting gifts like CDs, books, DVDs and other. While finalizing the card, this aspect should also be taken into due consideration.
  • Charges: Some student credit cards charges fees annually for using the card. But most of the cards don’t have this fee. One should do a good research before zeroing on a particular student card in this aspect also.

a. Some Useful Points:

  • There are basically two types of student credit card. One is secured and the other is unsecured. Now you must be wondering how these cards operate mainly. Well, a secured credit card is that where some credit or amount of money has to be put before using that credit card. In this way, a student cannot overspend and can make a good credit history as well. On the contrary, an unsecured credit card is that one, where no money is put beforehand and this may lead the students to the danger of overspending. However, a small credit limit is generally set for these types of cards.
  • With a student credit card student can make use of it while paying the tuition fees, or for learning any other courses, online degrees and more.
  • In case of most of the student credit cards there is a need for the cosigner. Most of the time parents take this step to help their children get the first line of credit. Though there are student cards also where no cosigner is required.
  • There are several universities which have tie with the major credit card issuers and hence students with credit cards from those issuers get to enjoy a number of facilities while they make use of the card for paying any university related costs.

Now let us get acquainted with some of the major student credit cards that are popular among the college and university goers and have some fabulous offers with them.

  • Capital One Platinum Card: This card has a good credit limit that starts from $300 and can be up to $3000. Students will get online account services if they take this card and also can access the customer services all round the year. Moreover, in case the card is lost or stolen they can avail the services of emergency replacement of the card and also cash advance plan. There is also insurance for loss or damage coverage for rental cards that the students can benefit from.
  • Citi Dividend Platinum Select Card: This is a credit card specially designed for college or university students keeping their needs in mind. Students availing this card neither need minimum income limit nor any co-signer. In addition they can get access to some upgraded services like identity theft solution services, Citi photo-card facility, credit knowledge tools and also lost wallet services. But what attracts the students mostly to this card is the cash advance benefit that they can avail. They can get up to 5% cash back advantage if they use the card in the gas stations, convenience store and more. Moreover, for balance transfer also there is this advantage where for individual cash transfer of about $1500 students can get back $5 back.
  • Citi mtvU Platinum Select Visa Card: This is another student credit card that has alluring reward points that encourage students towards a better use of their cards. Students can earn reward points on this card by attaining higher grades and also for a good use of their cards. They can earn five points if they make purchases at record stores, theaters, restaurants, bookstores and also video rentals. One point is given for other purchases using the card. Moreover, for timely payment of the monthly credit bill, students can earn a reward point of 25. With this credit card they can earn maximum 75,000 points and there is no annual fee charged also for this card. However, only one point to consider before rushing to get this card is, it comes packed with a higher interest rate which you should consider very minutely.

There are many other student credit cards available in the market with several major credit card issuers. A student should research widely and minutely according to his/her requirements and capability before zeroing on a particular card. This will take many of the burdens away and at the same time make them aware of the goal of understanding financial responsibilities.

However, the educational institutions teaming up with the card issuers have come under several disapprovals, attacks and scrutiny in recent time. While it has been seen that, this tying up is helpful for the colleges and universities so far revenue is concerned, on the other hand the practice of opening up personal information of the student to the issuers and making them choose an important financial product without any prior guidance is thoroughly criticized. But while no major action against this has been taken up so far, so it is all up to the students to make a better use of their credit cards and build a strong credit history for their future benefits.

Need of Student Credit Card

Now that you have some idea or rather as we can say, the basic ideas about student credit cards, its benefits, draw backs, types and several other general information, the big question that may bug your mind is, are the students really in need of a credit card? Well, before we go further with this question to understand the real need for student credit cards and its effects, let us ask you something. Do you have at your home or with you only those things that you need to use or need so badly? The answer is obviously a “NO” and same with the students going to start their college or university life. More so, because there are some genuine reasons and benefits of having a student credit card, though some students are there who would like to have one just because his/her friends have these plastic money. But what is driving the students towards acquiring a credit card is a different issue that we will address later. Let us now concentrate on the benefits and the points that will shade some light on the requirements of student credit cards and will help you to decide whether or not you will encourage your children to possess one.

Here are some useful points that you should consider before you cast your vote in favor or against the student credit cards. Just read along to add on to your knowledge:

  • A Good Credit History: Getting a student credit card early in the life means a student has the chance to build up a good credit history. If he pays the monthly bill regularly on time, it leads towards a good credit record which pays in future when that student applies for a mortgage or car loan.
  • Teaches Financial Responsibility: After acquiring a credit card, students will gradually learn that this is not all. There are so many responsibilities to cater to. They have to be very careful in the use of the credit card so that they don’t overspend. Moreover, paying the monthly charges or the fees in case of late payments and many other are also an eye opener for the students. These ultimately guide them towards a better financial management plans for themselves which works wonder in the later phases of life.
  • Online Purchase Made Easy: Student credit cards can practically teach and lead the students to save some money. Since students can make online purchases with their credit cards and it is relatively cheaper than buying from stores in general, they can save on the purchases of books, music items, clothes and many more.
  • Emergency Cares: A student credit card becomes of great help in emergencies like medical urgencies, car break down and things like these. Apart from making the immediate payments, these credit cards also ensure that the students will be able to go on with their daily necessities without having their parents to send them monetary helps.
  • Easy To Qualify: The application and approval procedures for student credit cards are much easier than when one is going to apply for a credit card after their college life. It’s always better to grab one in the student life which can make the procedure later for other credit cards easy as well.
  • Entertainments: Students can also make good use of their credit cards by making payment through the cards at motels, movie halls or while booking flying tickets. Generally they get reward points on these payments as well.

So when student credit cards are enabling your young ones to get so many benefits, you really need to consider before taking decision against giving them one. Moreover, if you with your financial experiences don’t help them out in choosing the right student credit cards for them, chances are there that they will rush to get one for them and will get one which does not work for them at all. So, better you help them out in choosing the right credit card and together work towards the goal of making their financial life run on the right track. In fact there are certain steps that the parents can take help of to make sure that their children do not overspend or misuse the credit cards. Here are some of those helpful steps that you can resort to:

  • Be a cosigner while your children apply for the first credit card. Though it can damage your own credit history in case the primary card holder fails to make timely payment. Yet at the same time you can help them out as well.
  • Another way to check the overspending spree of the students is to get for them the prepaid credit cards. In this case you are putting some amount of money beforehand in the account and they cannot spend beyond that limit. Though in case of prepaid credit cards there is no chance of building a credit history as such.
  • You can also help your children choose a student credit card that has a low credit limit. This will also ensure that they don’t overspend.
  • Moreover, there is another way in which you can help your children learn the financial responsibility. You can put a debit card also to check the account online to put a check on the spending of your children.

So when there are so many good reasons to get your young adults a credit card of their own and moreover to check on that too, you can consider giving them one for sure. It will surely help them to learn a good financial responsibility and at the same time will work towards making the family bond stronger. Come to think about it - should it not be another great incentive for you?

Facts & Myths

Like every other financial products and issues, student credit card is also surrounded with several wrong ideas and misconceptions due to lack of proper knowledge about using this product. These misconceptions are generally termed as the myths associated with the student credit cards. But since keeping these ideas alive and act according to these can prove to be problematic and can lead one into deep financial abyss. Therefore, the fast these are cleared off the better for the consumers.

So, here are some of those myths surrounding the student credit cards and its usage. If you are a student then know them and get rid of them and in case you are a parent, take prompt action to teach your young adult the best use of his/her student credit card.

  • There is a conception that making the minimum payment will keep the credit history intact. Now this is surely a big misconception. That is because if you make the minimum payment your balances will increase which you may or may not be able to pay at a certain point of time damaging your credit history. So this is one myth hiding the truth which the students need to learn.
  • Another misconception leading to much financial hazards for the students is that acquiring a number of credit cards can boost up the credit history and help you in future. While this may be true in case of those who have enough financial resources to make the payment in time and very regularly, it can turn out to be just a nightmare for students with opposite financial situation. So, before acquiring a number of credit cards, student should have a clear idea about this aspect as well.
  • Some students have the idea, which is no doubt a wrong one that carrying the balances forward will not affect their credit history. In case a student is not using a prepaid credit card, where no credit history is build up, each and every student credit card and the relative credit history will get damaged if the balances are not paid properly and are carried forward for a long time.
  • Student may also lead themselves in the financial traps going for student credit cards which have higher credit limits. One idea about acquiring credit cards with higher limits is that it helps in keeping your balances less than 50% of the credit limit. This may be true but think of it a bit deeply. It may not be a good venture in keeping the income to debt ratio in the proper shape and may also lead to the cancellation of loans in future.

While these are some of the misconceptions and ideas about student credit cards in general, there can be several other as well which a student may come across while using one. The best way to steer clear of these financial traps is to ask one who has enough experience in using the credit cards in the right way or directly asking the concerned authority for the proper information. This way one will be able to use his/her cards for building a better financial life ahead from student life itself.

Choosing The Best Card

Choosing the right credit card for your young adult may be a task of extensive research but it is worthy of every single minute that you spend. After all you will really not like to let your children fall into the trap of financial debts by choosing the wrong credit cards for them, will you? So here are some basic guidelines that will help both the parents and the students themselves to zero in on the right student credit cards.

There are a number of student credit cards available in the market with several card issuers and loads of offers with them just to attract the young minds and take advantage of their lack of information. It is here that parents can take a vital step forward and help them making the right choice. After all, this is the first step a student takes towards his/her financial life and much depends on it. The main trick is to focus on the main aim rather than getting distracted with the offers and free gifts while choosing the student credit card. Let us sum up the basic points that you should be looking for while choosing one.

  • APR: APR plays or should play the key role while choosing the student credit card. This is primarily because this rate alone can decide the future of the credit history that a student is going to make. Initially, most of the student credit card comes with a low APR which can even be 0% for a certain period. But that is only for a certain period of time which can get over as soon as by 6 months. After that most of the student credit cards carry a very high APR which can be in between 12% to 18% almost. This may lead the student to face the trouble of timely payment which again can trigger a number of other financial troubles. Therefore, it is advisable to choose a student credit card which has the lowest interest rate even after the initial introductory period.
  • Fixed or Variable Rate on APR: There are certain student credit cards which have a variable rate on the APR. This APR is changeable according to a certain economic index making the APR going up or down sometimes. This may become tough to track and students can face problems. A fixed rate APR will be much easy to handle as students can plan their spending accordingly or at least can be within a certain limits as they have to pay a certain amount of interest each month.
  • Introductory Offers: The lower APR rate in the introductory offer period is given in many regards which varies generally from one card to the other. One needs to know clearly whether the 0% APR is offered on balance transfer, or for purchases of certain goods, or for cash advance. Once a student has clear idea about it, he/she can decide which card will be better based on the transaction he/she makes frequently.
  • Default Rate & Penalty Fees: Credit Card Issuers hold the right to change your APR rate into a higher one, in case you fail to make timely payments. These rates are generally very high and therefore, a student should be very careful about making timely payments. Moreover, there can be penalty fees applicable as well for the same. Before a student decides on a credit card, he/she should go through all the terms and conditions properly in order to avoid these unpleasant financially burdening situations.
  • Issuers: For choosing a good student credit card, students should take the issuers into consideration as well. Credit cards issued from a nationally recognized big bank is always better than the smaller issuers and ultimately helps in making a good credit history.
  • Free Gifts & Reward Points: Many of the student credit card issuers offer free gifts and other attractive perks just to attract the young mind of the students. This should not divert one, as rather than free gifts other factors like APR, default rates etc. are much more important. But then many of the cards have good rewards benefits. Depending on the field where you are likely to spend more, student can go for a credit card which has reward points in that area. For example, if you are movie buff or a gadget freak, you can go for credit cards which have good reward points on these purchases. Later you can redeem the reward points for exciting gift vouchers. Based on one’s area of frequent expenses students can choose among the house cards, bank cards, travel & entertainment cards and many more.

So, here are some guidelines for the students and the parents also while selecting the best student credit cards. While these will help you enormously to narrow down your choices and screen the cards according to your need, it will depend on several other issues as well which are more personalized.

These may include the credit limit, the need for a prepaid card or a regular credit card and more. Consider these aspects as well before you finally zero in on the right credit card for yourself if you are a student, so that this can lead you towards building a solid credit history in future.

Card Approval Process

Among most of the students there is a prevalent idea that the approval process of a student credit card is really difficult and leads to cancellation most of the time. However, this is not wholly true as the application process is similar to the process which you undertake while applying for any other credit card. There are some differences however, that exits between normal credit cards and the student credit cards, but they are not very difficult to answer for. Let us make it clear for you with some useful tips.

  • Most of the card issuers ask for some general questions like your personal information. These will include you name, address, mother’s maiden name, social security number, mailing address and also phone number.
  • Along with the personal information, a student may have to give some information regarding his academic institutions as well. Some students think that giving information about their schools in case they are attending one at present will lead to cancellation of the application. But even though they should provide the card issuers with right information and in some cases giving information about school really helps.
  • When someone is applying for a student credit card generally they don’t have a credit history to show to accelerate the approval process. Therefore, all they need is to wait for their application to get approved.
  • There can be various reasons that an application gets cancelled. However, while you should enquire for the proper reason at the same time a student should apply for some other student credit card as well. This will give better chance of their application getting approved.
  • Once you have got the application approved and the card over the mail, just call up at the toll free number to activate it. But before you get your coveted student credit card in your wallet, have patience and fill up the application forms properly. This will surely lead to get your hands on one of those credit cards but be very careful and use them in the proper manner.

Building Good Credit

A student credit card can rightly be deemed as the passport for a student to his/her financial future. This fact itself indicates towards the importance of a good and sensible use of the card. The main motto that will be or can be served by using a student credit card in the right way is, building a good credit history. Now, students, knew as they are in the complex world of credit cards and other financial issues that it is associated with, are likely not to have enough grasp over every aspects of a student credit card. Therefore, let us offer some useful tips and suggestions which can lead the students to maintain their finances and credits in a better way.

Now, let us begin by shedding light on what this credit history actually stands for. A credit history is simply that record where all your financial transactions are mentioned and kept and which also indicates how good one is with managing their finances and also the credit card itself. Now, the better a student uses his/her credit card, like paying the monthly bill regularly, not carrying balances, making transactions within the credit limit and so on, the better will be the credit report or the credit history. And what are the benefits of a good credit history? Well, simply lots. It pays well to keep a good credit history when a student will apply for mortgages, car loans, other credit cards or even for getting a job.

So here are certain tips for you to make sure that you can keep a good credit history behind at the end of your college or university days to look forwards to a better financial future.

  • The important thing that one student should remember in order to maintain a good credit history is to use his/her student credit card in a good way. Always try to pay the monthly bills in time and don’t carry balances. Try to keep your expenses within 30% of your credit limit. Considerations of all these aspects will no doubt leave you with a better credit report.
  • But then paying off all your monthly bill will also depend on your right choice of student credit cards. As most of the card come with a high APR after the introductory period, so you better choose one with the lowest interest rate. This will help considerably in paying the bills timely.
  • A student can build up a good credit history by planning the fields in which he can use the card and thus paying the withstanding bills. You can start by using initially for emergencies only and once you have some grasp over the issues, you can start using them for other purchases like books, CDs, movie tickets and so on.
  • You can also apply for small amount of student loans but be sure to use that for educational purposes. This is another good way of building a good credit history if you can pay the amount timely.
  • While every student cannot afford this, they can opt for some other ways. Students can also become a user who is authorized to use their parent’s account or credit card to get a reliable credit history. Once a student can manage their parent’s credit card in a good way, he/she can get a credit card to their own name easily.

These are some simple and basic guidelines that students can follow in order to leave the college or university with a good credit history and bright financial future.

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