Student Credit Cards vs. Standard Credit Cards: Choose Wisely
Most people often think that all credit card companies offer everyone the same benefits and features. But that's not the case at all. There are many different types of credit cards made specifically for people who are in different financial stages of their lives. For first-time credit card holders, like students, there are introductory student credit cards, which are the best credit cards for college students. For seasoned credit card users who have already established a credit history, there are platinum credit cards. The main differences between these two types of credit cards are the special fees and benefits associated with them. As a struggling student, you definitely want to go with the account that has the word 'free' written all over it. And believe us, it's not the platinum account!
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The Benefits of Student Credit Cards
As a college student, money management has hopefully become an important part of your life. And part of managing your money is knowing how to maintain good credit. The best way to do this is to choose a student credit card over a standard credit card. And here are the reasons why:
- Annual Fee - This is the amount a company charges once a year to keep the card active. Student credit cards should have no annual fee. Standard credit card annual fees can range from no annual fee to $130.
- APR (Annual Percentage Rate) - The yearly interest rate a consumer must pay on unpaid debt. Student credit cards usually have a 0% introductory APR, and after 6 months they can be as low as 16.24%. Standard credit cards will usually have a 0% introductory APR, but the rate can climb to as high as 23%.
- Balance Transfer Fee - A charge for transferring a balance from one card to another. Standard credit cards can have transfer fees that range from $0-$50. Student credit cards have no transfer fees, making it the best credit card for a college student who might to want to consolidate one or more credit cards together.
- Online Account Access - The ability to access your account through a computer to view your money transactions, pay your bills or update information. Student credit cards offer free online account access, which makes it easy to check on your account between classes.
- Transaction Fee - A fee that is charged every time you make a purchase with your credit card. Standard credit cards can charge from 1%-5% of the card's purchase, where student credit cards do not charge a transaction fee.
- Income Requirement - Income is the amount of money you receive from employment. Because students usually attend college full-time and don't have a job, student credit cards do not have a minimum income requirement. Standard credit cards might have a minimum yearly household income to ensure that the cardholder has money to make their payments.
As you can see, it pays for you to be in college because you get great deals when you open a student credit card account. Credit card companies understand your financial situation, so you get many fee waivers that the average customer doesn't. This won't last for long (4 years for the average student), so take advantage of the great interest rates and zero fees and soon you'll be on your way to acquiring a good credit history. With a good credit history, you will be able to get specialized credit cards that can help with bigger investments such as buying a house or starting your own business.