At a Glance
In today’s world, financial independence is crucial, and one aspect of achieving it is through responsible credit card usage. Credit cards can provide students with a valuable opportunity to start building a credit history while enjoying the benefits and conveniences they offer. Let’s explore the ins and outs of student credit cards so you can make an informed decision before you apply.
In this article, you’ll learn:
The proportion of college students that have a credit card.
What is a student credit card?
A student credit card is designed for students who are enrolled in college or university. These cards are tailored to meet the needs and financial circumstances of students. Student credit cards typically have lower credit limits than regular ones and may offer additional benefits and rewards relevant to students’ lifestyles and spending habits.
Requirements for a student credit card
To be eligible for a student credit card, you might have to meet a few card-specific requirements.
1. Age under 21
According to the Credit CARD Act of 2009, individuals under 21 must have either a co-signer or an independent means of repaying their credit card debt. So, if you’re under 21, you will likely need a co-signer to apply for a student credit card. This could be a parent, guardian, or other trusted adult.
2. Age over 21
If you are over 21, you can apply for a student credit card on your own. However, it’s important to note that some card issuers may still require proof of income or other financial information to assess your ability to repay the credit card debt.
Reasons to get a student credit card
There are several reasons why it could be beneficial for students to have a credit card.
1. Build credit
One of the most important reasons to get a student credit card is to start building a credit history. Using the card responsibly and making timely payments establishes a positive credit profile, which can be crucial for future financial endeavors like renting an apartment or applying for a loan.
2. Earn rewards
Many student credit cards offer rewards programs that allow you to earn points, cashback, or other purchase incentives. These rewards can help stretch your budget, provide discounts, or even contribute to travel expenses. It’s important to choose a card that aligns with your spending habits and offers valuable rewards.
3. Credit card emergency
Having a credit card as a student can serve as a safety net during emergencies. It can help cover unexpected expenses, like car repairs or medical bills when other financial resources might be limited.
How to apply for a student credit card?
Applying for a student credit card is pretty straightforward. Here are the general steps to follow:
1. Know your credit score
You should always know your credit score before applying for any credit product. This holds true for student credit cards. You can obtain a free credit report from various credit bureaus or use online services that provide credit monitoring and score information.
2. Find application
Research and compare different student credit cards available in the market. Look for cards with favorable terms, low fees, and suitable rewards programs. Many card issuers have online applications available on their websites.
3. Apply for a card
Complete the application form once you have selected a suitable student credit card. Provide accurate information about your personal details, income, and any required documentation.
4. Look for application decision
After submitting your application, the card issuer will review your information and make a decision. This process may take a few days, during which you should avoid submitting multiple applications to different issuers, as it could negatively impact your credit score.
5. Make payment
Once approved you will receive your new card in the mail. Activate the card as instructed and start using it responsibly. Remember to make timely payments to avoid interest charges and maintain a positive credit history.
Risk of getting a student credit card
Like any financial product, there are risks involved. Before applying for a student credit card, familiarize yourself with these risks so you can prevent any damage to your financial future.
- Accumulating debt: Overspending and failing to make timely payments can make debt challenging to manage, which can potentially damage your credit score.
- High-interest rates: Student credit cards may have higher interest rates compared to other credit cards, so be sure to pay off your balance in full each month.
- Impulsive spending: Having a credit card can make it tempting to make impulse purchases. It’s important to maintain discipline and use your card for necessary expenses only.
Student credit cards often have lower credit limits and tailored rewards programs and may require a co-signer for applicants under 21. Regular credit cards have higher credit limits and wider features and benefits.
If you are a responsible spender, need to build credit, and can manage the card responsibly, a student credit card can be a valuable tool for financial growth and flexibility.
Student credit cards generally have lower credit limits and fewer perks than regular credit cards. However, they are designed to accommodate students’ financial circumstances and needs.
The credit limit for a student credit card is determined on a case-by-case basis. Student credit cards typically have a lower credit limit than standard credit cards. You will be notified of your credit limit upon approval.