If you're looking for the best student credit cards, you've come to the right place. MoneyRates.com has assembled student credit cards here.
Lesson No. 1 about school is that expenses add up fast. There's tuition and housing, books and supplies, not to mention books and chipping in for Friday night pizza. The good news is that credit cards for students can help you cope with unexpected expenses and could earn you some rewards to boot. Responsibly managing your student credit card balance can also help you build a credit history, and that solid financial history is something you can take with you well past graduation.
Selecting a student credit card
Generally speaking, credit card companies are eager to offer credit to students. While increased restrictions have curtailed efforts to recruit borrowers on college campuses in recent years, the number of student credit cards on the market shows that credit card companies are still very interested in this demographic.
For students, the key to starting out on the right financial foot is to do your homework before signing on the dotted line for a new credit card. Rather than leap at the first good incentive offer, you should step back and consider the multiple choices in student credit cards.
What are student credit cards?
Student credit cards are tailored to the financial needs of those in college. Most student credit cards require little or no credit to obtain, which can be very helpful to those who haven't had a chance to establish credit. Using a credit card wisely can start building good credit within the first few months.
Though many student credit cards offer enticing short-term perks, the long-term qualities of a card are crucial to note. When choosing from the best student credit cards, keep these seven points in mind.
- What is the interest rate? Is it fixed or variable?
- What is the grace period after a purchase? How long until the interest begins to accrue?
- Does the credit card accept balance transfers? If so, what are the fees?
- What about cash advances? Is there a different grace period and interest rate for those?
- Is there an annual fee? What about monthly maintenance fees?
- What kind of perks are offered during the introductory period? When does that period end?
- Are there any rewards offered for using the card? What must you do to obtain them?
With the wide range of student credit cards available, it pays to study the matter and choose the best student credit cards for your needs. A low interest rate is always a good feature, and so is the lack of an annual fee. Some cards also offer various rewards, such as bonuses for cash, travel items and gift cards, which can be useful as long as you don't spend too much to get them.
Build credit wisely with student credit cards
After reviewing the available student credit cards, choose the card that best fit your needs and apply for it. Once you have the chosen card in hand, using it properly is the key to building good credit.
If this is your first credit card, every move you make with it matters to your future credit score. Take care to never go over your credit limit. If you can pay off the card every month, that's great. If you carry a balance, try to make more than the minimum payment each month.
If this is not your first credit card, you might be able to use it to improve your credit score and pay down your existing debt. Introductory offers for 0% APR balance transfers can be a great tool for eliminating the balances on your previous credit cards.
Proving you can use a credit card responsibly now can be a boon to your financial health later, so choose your student credit card carefully and use it wisely. If you do this, by the time your college days are done, you'll likely have a great foundation to build your credit further.