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Student Credit Cards - What You Should Know

As a college student your financial needs and challenges are unique. Credit card companies have realized this and over the past decade have made it much easier to obtain a student credit card. In fact students are bombarded by credit card companies clamoring for their business each year. Although it's easy to say yes to each and every offer you get, be careful to select the best type of credit card for college students and of course your needs. And start off right by learning to manage your credit wisely with Student Finance Domain's help. We have even assembled a handy student card comparison guide to help you choose the best college credit card.

Selecting the best credit card for a college student is about assessing your needs and weighing those against what the credit card companies are offering you. The basics you should look for in a student credit card vs. a standard credit card are:

Citi mtvU Visa Card
  • No annual fee
  • No minimum income
  • No co-signer requirements
  • 0% introductory fee, with a low annual percentage rate (APR) after the introductory period ends, if you qualify
  • Free online account access and management
  • Free rewards program (miles, points, cash back bonuses, etc.)

Once you've selected the right student credit card account for you, be sure to take care using it. Yes it's easy to hit the mall and buy everything in sight, but living beyond your means is the quickest way to ruin the credit you're just starting to establish. You should make an effort to establish good credit card usage habits and manage your credit right from the start. That means using your first college credit card to buy only what you can afford with cash and paying your bills on time. It also means that you protect your credit card from fraudsters who may steal your personal information

Many students find out the hard way how easy it is to run up a student credit card account balance from inexpensive purchases made occasionally. To avoid falling into this trap yourself, it's important to keep track of all the purchases you make. Use an empty check register to track your purchases or keep a list on your computer. And when your bills arrive, take a few minutes to compare your list to what you've been billed for. Occasionally you may find that you were overcharged or charged twice for an item. You may also notice strange activity on your account. If that happens you should immediately contact your credit card company's fraud department.

In the event that you do overspend, you should first take your student credit card out of your wallet and stash it in a safe place. Then you need to build a plan to dig yourself out of the financial hole. A good way to accomplish this is to build a student budget and stick to it. Secondly you will want to pay as much as you can on your credit cards each month. Be sure to pay more than the minimum amount if possible. Paying the minimum basically covers the interest that you accrue without making much of a dent in your balance. Always pay the minimum amount and you'll find that you're paying substantially more for the goods and services you buy than you have to.

Although there are dangers that come along with credit card usage, there are also great benefits. First of all student credit cards can help you to establish your credit, and shrewd usage helps you to build your credit history and credit score, the benefits of which we've outlined in our credit management section. Furthermore credit cards provide you with access and protection when purchasing an item online, over the phone or in a situation where cash or checks aren't ideal. Finally credit cards offer rewards for usage that cash simply can't deliver.

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