A student credit card is a card designed specifically for college and graduate students with limited credit history or better. Student credit cards are easier to get than the average credit card, and they usually have $0 annual fees, rewards, and minimum credit limits of $300 or so. Some student credit cards offer low introductory APRs, but the regular APR on student credit cards tends to be above average.
Students generally have less credit history and less income than professionals and older adults. However, they come with assumed future earning potential. So, credit card companies are more willing to approve a student with no credit history than a non-student newcomer. Student credit cards work just like regular credit cards. They’re just aimed at students.
What you should know about student credit cards:
Overview: Student credit cards can help students with fair, limited, or no credit build their credit history. The right student card can also teach responsible credit card habits to people who are new to the game. For example, some give bonus rewards for on-time bill payments and/or good grades.
Requirements: You’ll need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a student credit card, just like with any other credit card. If you’re under 21, you’ll need an independent income that the credit card company can verify. Income from even a part-time job will help your approval odds. Plus, you’ll most likely be asked about your school information on the application. Limited or no credit history usually is not an issue with student cards, but if you already have bad credit, you may not get approved. In that case, you may want to aim for a secured credit card, like the Capital One Quicksilver Secured Cash Rewards Credit Card.
Card perks: Student credit cards tend to offer $0 annual fees and rewards on purchases. These perks aren’t always available on credit cards for people with less-than-good credit. Some student credit cards even give initial bonus offers or intro APRs.
It’s important to remember that student credit cards are definitely real credit cards. So, make sure to use your student credit card responsibly. The high APRs can be a big extra weight if you carry a balance.
The easiest credit cards for students to get are student credit cards for applicants with limited or no credit history and secured credit cards, which are available to people with no credit or even bad credit. Since college students tend to have higher incomes in the long term, issuers are willing to extend them better offers than most people without established credit could get. Think of it as an investment in a student’s future financial needs, which could prove quite profitable for a bank that gets in on the ground floor.… read full answer
In general, student credit cards allow young people to begin building credit before entering the real world. If you use your card responsibly and pay your bills on time, you should be able to get a better deal once you graduate. And that’s true whether you’re starting with a student credit card or a secured card.
Yes. You have to be a student to get a student credit card most of the time. Most student credit cards require applicants to provide the name of their school, their expected graduation date, or some other proof of enrollment.
The terms and conditions for some student credit cards also state that the card is specifically for currently-enrolled students. It’s illegal to lie on a credit card application, so applicants are legally compelled to be honest about their college enrollment status.… read full answer
Even if a student credit card application doesn’t ask you about your enrollment status, student cards are meant for students. If you don’t qualify as a currently-enrolled student, there are plenty of alternatives for people just starting to build their credit. You can get a secured credit card or a starter credit card, for example, without needing to be a student.
Yes, it is a good idea for college students to have a credit card 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 or even good credit by graduation.… read full answer
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.
What you should know before applying for a student credit card:
Requirements: To qualify for a student credit card, 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.
Alternatively, 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.
What to watch out for: Missing payments and racking up debt are the biggest concerns when it comes to credit cards 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.
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