With so much information out there telling us to avoid credit at all costs, why would a college student, who is already strapped for cash, benefit from having a student credit card? Some cards are highly beneficial for responsible students, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the one with your school’s logo is best suited for you.
Tips for Avoiding Student Credit Cards
Not every credit card that promises you the moon is best suited for you. Here are some tips for cards to avoid:
- Upfront fees are charged
- Annual fees are charged
- Introductory rates are advertised for a short time
- They don’t report to all three credit bureaus
While the fees are fairly self-explanatory, you don’t want to jump into a credit card relationship owing money! Some credit card companies offer credit to just about anyone, with the stipulation that you must pay the $100 annual fee upfront.
Introductory interest rates may be very low, but within just a few short months may skyrocket to 20-30%. Be sure to read the fine print before jumping aboard a credit card company that seems too good to be true.
It is important to avoid any credit card companies that do not report to all three credit bureaus: Experian, Transunion and Equifax. If a company does not report to these bureaus you will not be building your credit but simply taking out a loan. College students should use this time to build their credit which will be taken with them upon graduation and entering the real world.
Best Tips for Finding the Perfect Student Credit Card
- Do your homework
It is best to get informed, very informed, before accepting any credit card offers. There are a lot of useful resources available to students that will help them to find the right credit card. MSN Money is one of the best and most reputable sources available to students in terms of credit card research. It pays to do your homework in order to avoid problems later on.
- Know the fine print
If this tip is not familiar to you now, take a business course in college and learn the importance. Credit card companies are in the business of making money, not losing it. They don’t always reveal their every move when it comes to how they earn their money. Avoid those credit card companies that charge annual fees or upfront costs. While not advertised openly, these fees may be listed in the fine print. As a consumer and good steward of credit, it is important to read and understand the fine print of any credit card offer.
Credit cards for college students can be beneficial if the student is responsible and possesses limits and boundaries. In the wrong hands, a credit card can cause major problems. Detrimental effects that last a lifetime can be felt by using a credit card irresponsibly. Do your homework and read the fine print before accepting any offer of credit.