Before leaving for college in the fall, students may choose to apply for a credit card. It is a good practice to review your options and compare the benefits and extras offered by major lenders to find a Visa card that will provide the spending power you need as a student with benefits that will extend after your education is complete.
A challenging economy in recent years led many consumers into problems with credit card debt. Lenders have raised interest rates and lowered credit lines. Faced with higher payments combined with lost jobs, people burdened with credit card debt have defaulted on their payments and filed for bankruptcy.
Should You Apply for Student Card from Visa?
If you have not used credit before, you may worry about charging purchases and paying monthly bills. That’s a healthy concern and indicates an understanding that purchases made today with a credit card must be paid for next month.
For young people who have never had the opportunity to manage money, a student credit card can be a valuable training tool. The relatively low credit line doesn’t allow you to build up a heavy load of debt while the low minimum payments don’t put too much strain on a tight student budget.
Students have not yet established a credit file. If you use a credit card wisely for three or four years, you will have a credit rating when you graduate from college.
That will benefit you when you apply to rent an apartment or need to buy a car. Many employers now routinely run a credit check before hiring.
Before applying for a student credit card, review the options available to you. The goal should be to obtain a card that can be used where you need to use it and has the tools to help you use your new account wisely.
Best Student Credit Cards
Choose a well known lender to obtain a credit card you can use at almost any merchant’s store. Several large lending institutions focus on providing accounts for students.
One of these is Citi which offers several different student credit cards. No co-signer is required for the Citi student accounts and the offers vary from an introductory interest rate of 0% for the first twelve months to discount on food and hotels, gasoline discounts and accounts where points can be built up for cash back and discounts.
Chase also has a customized Visa card specifically for students that shows the lengths lenders will go to in order to obtain students as new customers.
The Chase Visa card for students includes Karma points with Facebook and you can share points with friends or donate points earned to good causes. Points can also be redeemed for music, movies, electronics and other goods students are most likely to be interested in buying.
Fees and Fine Print
Before applying for a Visa card, do your homework. Read the fine print so you understand what the interest rate is on your new account and what that interest rate will be in 6 months or 12 months from now.
Pay careful attention to the list of fees that may be charged to your account.
Avoid credit cards where an annual fee is charged unless the interest rate on that account is significantly lower than other offers.
Learn what will happen should you miss a payment or pay late on the account. Late fees and over limit fees can be a heavy expense that you can avoid.
Always pay your monthly bill before the due date and advise the lender not to allow you to charge over the spending limit of your account.
Managing your money in college can be easier with a credit card from Visa. With tools to help you track spending and manage your account, you will gain valuable money management skills.
Perhaps more importantly, students can begin to build a great credit file by using a credit account for purchases of books and supplies and paying their bills reliably on time.
Choose a credit card that provide the benefits that best suit your lifestyle. Use your new credit wisely and you will benefit for many years to come.