Student Credit Cards 101
Student credit cards are designed to help you build your credit while in school so you can be ready to face the real world and have the option to make big purchases (such as qualifying for a first mortgage) once you are ready.
Student credit cards may seem silly if your parents are covering most of your expenses and you have a debit card, but having one is the best way to build credit. It is like a starter pack for your finances. Student cards do not always have the best features but they will help to increase your credit score and may be a better option than a secured or prepaid credit card.
Many people avoid student cards out of fear of getting into debt. Although this is a very valid concern, if used carefully and wisely, student cards can help to build a healthy credit score, necessary for making your way through life. Nearly every landlord will run your credit and may not approve your application if your score is bad. If you try to buy a home or a car, a good score is necessary for that too.
It can take less than a year of making one-time payments to build a good credit score, so it is completely possible to leave college with a decent credit score. Having a good score prior to graduation is a great direction to head and an excellent start for post‐graduate life.
Qualifying for a Card
To qualify for a student credit card, you must be a current college student and have some form of proof of income. Scholarships and grants as well as work-study are not applicable forms of income but part‐time jobs do count. If you do not have a job and are under 21, you can have a parent co‐sign on your card.
Using Your Card Responsibly
Remember that if you do get approved for a credit card, it is a tool, not a toy. People find it easy to rack up debt on credit cards because they can't see or feel the money. Remember that all of the money you charge will be your responsibility and you will have to pay it back sooner or later.
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