For most college students, college is a mixture of a lot of intense experiences that result in an indescribable amount of learning and growth. While every college student goes through both good and bad times, when they graduate they know they have learned many things which could never be taught in books.
One of the many lessons that college students learn is that of money management. The vast majority of college students live on their own, which means they have to manage their ongoing purchases of food, thecreditrepairblueprint.com/what-are-the-best-credit-cards-for-bad-credit/ clothing, and supplies for their apartment or house from month to month. Meanwhile, other college students choose to continue living at home in order to cut down on costs.
However, whether a student chooses to live on their own or with family for the duration of their college career, they are nonetheless having to deal with shouldering regular expenses such tuition, books, computers and school supplies – not to mention a burgeoning social life. In order to do so, many college and university students elect to apply for a credit card.
Of course, credit cards can afford a student a lot of freedom in terms of how, what and when they make their purchases. At the same time, having a credit card can lead to a host of financial troubles, both while in school and after graduation. Namely, these troubles can take the form of carrying so much high-interest debt that they have trouble paying it down even after graduation. The average graduate has $4,100 in credit card debt, according to a Sallie Mae study.
Still, even if a credit card is not to be used for monthly expenses, it is a good idea to have one on hand for emergency situations. That said, if you are wondering, “What is the best credit card for a college student?”, here are 5 criteria to consider in choosing the right card:
1. Get a card that offers cash-back bonus:
Many cards offers incentives such as cash-back bonuses. This means that, when the student purchases certain types of goods and services (as stipulated by the cardholder agreement) with their card, they can actually receive a certain percentage of the purchase amount back. The amount is deducted from the card’s balance
2. Choose one that does not charge annual fees or sign-up fees:
Look for a card that does not require the payment of fees such as annual cardholder fees or account sign-up fees. Why agree to pay these fees when some cards do not require that you pay them?
3. Focus on getting one with a low interest rate:
More important than almost any of the other criteria listed here is that of securing a competitive interest rate. For every percentage point you can shave off of your card’s interest rate, you could stand to save hundreds in annual interest payments (depending upon the size of the average monthly balance you carry). If you have the choice between a regular card offering a low interest rate and a cash-back incentive card with a higher rate, it is almost always smarter to go with the low-interest rate card.
4. Ignore giveaways and special online shopping cash-back bonuses:
According to legislation that went into effect in February of 2010, credit card companies are restricted from offering certain giveaways to people under 21 as incentives for signing up. Still, there may be loopholes in the law, so be leery of any giveaway programs. Similarly, you should probably ignore any cash-back bonuses that are only valid if you shop on the credit card company’s own online shopping network.
5. Do not worry about qualifying for a high credit limit:
Since you probably should restrict your card usage to emergency situations only, you should not hold as a strict requirement that your new card offer a high credit limit.
When applying for a credit card for a college student, consider these 5 criteria for choosing the best card for you.
Meanwhile, for day-to-day purchases and expenses, consider using a prepaid debit card instead. These cards carry the symbols of major credit cards like American Express and Visa, so they can be used anywhere a major card is accepted. At the same time, however, these cards do not require an application, credit check, or a cosigner to get one.