5 Minute Read: Credit Card Tips for College Students

Having a credit card in college can be a huge responsibility.

You are beginning the journey of building a solid credit history on top of becoming financially independent. Here are some quick tips to help you get started.

Shop Around

Search for the best credit card that suits your lifestyle. There are many student credit cards out there that have relatively low interest rates or 0%. You also will have a lower limit to ensure you don’t go over. Avoid fees such as an annual fee or foreign transaction fee. You might want to consider signing up with a card that gives you rewards or points back such as an Amazon credit card.

Pay Your Bill on Time

Probably the reason you are getting a credit card is so you can build a solid credit history! Don’t mess it up! Pay your bill on time and every month. You might want to consider paying above the minimum payment so you can pay off interest as well. If you are comfortable paying your bill every month, then try paying it off in full if you have the money. That way you won’t get stuck with any fees or interest accruing at the end of each month. Being a college student is time consuming, but try to make biweekly payments or paying off your full balance every month to help boost your credit score.

Don’t Spend More Than you Earn

Many college students tend to think a credit card is free money. This is never the case. You will always be responsible for paying off your credit card. Understand your income to expense ratio. Try not to put $1,000 on your credit card if you don’t plan on paying it off that month. You will see interest pile up if you continue to do this. It is important to not come too close to your limit or exceed the limit of your credit card. If you do, depending on your provider, you may get stuck with a huge fee on top of your debt. Try your best to keep use 30% or less of your credit card balance to ensure you stay in good credit standing.

Check your Monthly Statement

You can be very busy as a college student with class, work, and even your social life. Don’t make the mistake of ignoring your monthly statement. You may be in a different environment and can lose or have your credit card number get stolen. Check your credit card statement every month so you are always in the know of your charges. You don’t want to become a victim of fraud or identity theft. If you see anything unusual, make sure to contact your provider as soon as possible!

To maintain a solid credit history, it is important to be responsible with your credit card. College is a perfect time to open your first one. Don’t make silly mistakes; pay your bills on time and check your statements! Are you going off to college this fall? Have you opened your credit card yet? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

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