5 Credit Card Tips for College Students

Credit Card Tips That Can Keep College Students Out Of Financial Difficulty

The majority of students obtain their first credit card offer while in college. Being given a credit card is a power that could quickly spiral out of control. After all, it’s money that allows them to travel, eat and shop whenever they please. It’s money that allows them to pay for college very easily. Credit cards… money within people’s grasps that can cause major problems if not managed carefully.

If you’re a student with a credit card, don’t let the “free money” bite you back with penalties and interest. Instead, learn how to manage your finances so you’re not in financial trouble and have good credit when you finally earn your degree.

5 Money-Managing Tips That Can Keep You From Getting Into Financial Trouble While In College

1 – Cash vs. Credit

Whenever you possibly can, pay for all your purchases with cash. College students should steer clear of making charges on small, inexpensive items… especially if they can pay for it with cash already. Keep in mind that anything you buy on credit will be more expensive due to the interest charged. Also, many stores are enforcing a minimum amount credit charge so that the buyer spends more.

2 – Payment Plans

Remember that credit is money you borrow…not have on hand. That means this money will have to be paid back eventually. The concept of “spending money now and paying for it down the road” will work only if you pay the bills on time…all the time! It’s important students understand they should pay off the credit card balance as quickly as they can. If this is not possible, they need to put more money than the minimum amount asked toward their monthly payments. And, payments need to be made on time because late payments can result in fees and penalties.

3 – Self-Control

Just because you have the credit card doesn’t mean you have to spend it. Yes, paying for your college education is expensive but you don’t have to pay for it all using plastic. The financial savvy student will purchase things he/she deems necessary and reasonable. Occasionally, you can splurge on extras or pay for the emergency that arises.  But, you should never spend just to spend. Never pay your tuition on the credit card. Rather, obtain a school loan so that you don’t max out your credit limit straight off the bat.

4 – Deals

Different companies will have special offers from time to time. Some of these offers remain active throughout the credit card’s life while some offers are good if a person enrolls in a particular program. One such offer is the one or two percent cash back on qualified purchases that have been bought with the card.

5 – Interest

When you want a credit card, you should always find one that’s got a low interest rate. With a low interest rate, less interest is added to the card at the end of the month. Some companies will offer the low interest rate as a teaser, which means the special interest rate will end at some point. Most companies do not tack on interest if the card balance is paid in full every month.

Credit cards have their usefulness for college students but that doesn’t mean everybody needs one.  If handled with great care, it can make going to and paying for college a little more affordable.

3 thoughts on “5 Credit Card Tips for College Students”

  1. I’m a college student and I’ve been considering getting a credit card recently. This has definitely helped me in my decision. My research will be more thorough now that I know a little bit more about payments, etc. Whenever I make purchases on my future credit card, I’ll be sure to keep in mind interest rates and whether I have the money to pay for it in the near future.

  2. I made the mistake of putting some college tuition on credit cards. Bad, bad idea. Now I have so much credit card debt that I can’t make those payments. I had to go into a debt management program. Seriously, be careful with what you put on credit cards and don’t use them unless it’s an emergency. Pay off the balance each month, because when you don’t pay off that balance things start to spiral out of control.

  3. Here’s my two cents on this topic. I think it’s fine for college students to obtain a credit card or two during college but it should be limited to occasional or emergency use. If the student can resist the temptation of charging frivolous purchases it can be a good way to get a running start on establishing a good credit history. Also, pay CLOSE attention to the interest rates and annual fee (if any). A low interest rate will do a lot more for you than that nifty frisbee they are giving away as an incentive for you to sign up. Credit card interest rates generally run from 7.9% to 29.9% and even higher. Go for the lowest you can get.

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