As a college student your financial needs are somewhat different than the average person; you’re money goes toward tuition, books, and food (and it’s usually in that order). Credit card companies are beginning to realize that college students are also in need of obtaining credit and have made it much easier to qualify for a credit card. In fact, if you asked the question “can students get credit cards” the answer would be a confident “yes.” In fact it’s almost too easy for college students to get credit cards. They are bombarded by credit card companies each year wanting their business. That’s why college students have to be careful and picky in what type of credit card they choose to get.
Understanding the basics
Using a credit card is much like taking out a loan. You are given a certain amount of money and are expected to pay back what you “borrow” or use. You will be responsible for paying interest and fees on the credit card and for paying off the balance each month, or at least the minimum payment required. It’s also a good idea to become more familiar with the different types of credit cards so that you can make educated comparisons so that you can choose the card that best fits your needs. The four major credit cards that are available are Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Each offers its users different rates and options. You can purchase these cards through the actual credit card companies or by going into a bank. When it comes to purchasing a credit card there are basically three different types you can go with:
1. Secured credit cards- these are credit cards that you must make a deposit on to secure the credit. They are great for individuals who have no credit or who have bad or damaged credit.
2. Regular credit cards- these are the cards we have mostly been talking about; ones that are offer low to moderate credit limits. Some also have additional benefits and services to them; this is probably the category a student will fall into.
3. Premium credit cards- Premium credit cards are extended to individuals with a generally higher income and good to excellent credit. They usually have higher credit limits and come with more benefits and services.
What if you don’t qualify for a credit card?
Although it is becoming more common for credit card companies to issue credit cards to students there is the chance that you won’t qualify for one the first time you apply. If this is the case with you then there are some other things you can do to establish a good credit standing.
1. The first option is to open a checking and savings account. By opening accounts with the bank it shows creditors that you have money and can be responsible in taking care of it.
2. Another option for credit is by applying for a college credit card. They usually have low credit limits and are available with no annual fee.
3. Department store credit cards are also available to almost anyone who applies. While this may not be the ideal way to build your credit standing, it is a means to an end. If you use it carefully and remember to pay the balance off you can begin to build a good credit standing and eventually be able to apply for a regular credit card.
4. And yet one more way to build some credit as a student is to have a parent cosign one with you. Of course they assume full responsibility for your card should you fail to neglect to pay your bills.
So can students get credit cards? Of course they can, the most important thing to remember about them is to make sure that you have the money to pay for what you’re using them for. Credit cards are notoriously famous for debt and as a college student that’s the last thing you want more of.