Yes, college students should have credit cards because it is the best way to begin building credit history. Simply owning a credit card account and keeping it in good standing can allow a student to go from having no credit at the start of college to fair credit or even good credit by graduation. As a result, responsible credit card use will give students a leg up when they enter the real world. Without a strong credit profile, students may have a difficult time renting an apartment, getting a car loan, finding cheap car insurance, and even landing a job.
Nearly 60% of all undergraduate students reported having a credit card in 2018, which amounts to a 90% increase from 2013. And 42% students consider the importance of credit cards to continue growing in the near future. It’s actually a myth that college students can’t get credit cards. To qualify, you have to be at least 18 years old and demonstrate the ability to afford monthly bill payments. More specifically, anyone between the ages of 18 and 21 must prove their ability to independently pay back debt before they can own a credit card, per the Credit CARD Act of 2009. Or, an applicant may have a co-signer who is at least 21 years old. The cosigner would be financially liable for the account. Most credit card companies don’t allow co-signers anymore, though.
At the very least, college students should have a credit card as an authorized user on a parent’s account. You can build credit as an authorized user while the primary cardholder is responsible for making payments. The primary cardholder can also monitor the account. If there’s any sign of reckless card use, they can remove the authorized user at any time.
Missing payments and racking up debt are the biggest reasons people say not to get a credit card as a college student. But there are easy ways to minimize the risk while still reaping all the benefits. For example, you’ll be less likely to miss any due dates if you set up automatic payments from a bank account. You could also pay any annual fee the card may have and then lock the card away somewhere safe – to resist the temptation to overspend. You’ll still build credit that way.
Finally, it’s worth noting that if you wait until after college to get a credit card, you could be costing yourself when it comes it annual fees and rewards. Credit cards for college students tend to be a lot more attractive than other credit cards for people with limited or no credit.
WalletHub Answers is a free service that helps consumers access financial information. Information on WalletHub Answers is provided “as is” and should not be considered financial, legal or investment advice. WalletHub is not a financial advisor, law firm, “lawyer referral service,” or a substitute for a financial advisor, attorney, or law firm. You may want to hire a professional before making any decision. WalletHub does not endorse any particular contributors and cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of any information posted. The helpfulness of a financial advisor's answer is not indicative of future advisor performance.
WalletHub members have a wealth of knowledge to share, and we encourage everyone to do so while respecting our content guidelines
. This question was posted by WalletHub.
Please keep in mind that editorial and user-generated content on this page is not reviewed or otherwise endorsed by any financial institution. In addition, it is not a financial institution’s responsibility to ensure all posts and questions are answered.