In this day and age where everything is available online, a credit card is more of a necessity than a luxury. If you are a student attending college for the first time, you should have a student credit card with you to manage your expenses. However, do you have some concerns about applying for a credit card? You may have heard various stories about students who misuse credit cards and ruin their finances. Below, we help you choose the best student credit card.
The Concept of Student Credit Cards
In the past, credit card issuers set up marketing booths in front of each university and enticed students to apply for credit cards. They offered incentives to students who enrolled for a student credit card. Now the rules have become strict, whereby credit card issuers cannot lure applicants in this way.
The Eligibility Criteria for Student Credit Cards
The basic eligibility standard is that you need to be a student. Today, student credit cards are available for students who have a decent credit score and meet the basic income norms. The good news is that there has been a recent relaxation of the rules, meaning you no longer need to have a long credit history or a high monthly income. Some of the best student credit cards are available for students who have no or little credit history and a basic credit rating.
Student Credit Cards: Who should use them?
- Student credit cards are ideal for students who do not have an established credit rating and who earn a variety of incomes from one or more part-time jobs.
- Students who want to build a good credit history can get started with student credit cards.
Student Credit Cards: When To Apply?
Credit cards for students are equipped with various functions. Here are some terms that you should know about in this regard:
Annual Percentage Rate (APR)
All credit cards are delivered with an interest-free period. It usually lasts a maximum of about 50 to 52 days. Credit card issuers will issue you an invoice for payment of the fees by a certain date, known as the “due date”. If you pay the entire bill before the due date, you will not pay interest on the amount due. However, if you transfer part of the payment to next month’s invoice, that part payment will acquire interest at a fixed rate, the annual percentage rate. Normally, you should not carry forward payments to the next month. However, if you do, you should choose a credit card with the lowest APR.
Some credit card issuers offer an introductory annual percentage rate of charge (usually 0%) for an initial period of, say, 6 to 18 months, with no interest paid on the balances you transfer during this initial period. Note that the bank will not charge interest if you do not pay the entire bill during the introductory APR period. However, this will affect the credit limit of your card. It is, therefore, better to pay back the entire bill and develop financial discipline. This will help you later in your career.
Annual / Renewal Fee
Credit cards for students are initially free of charge. However, you should check the annual or renewal fee before you apply for the credit card. Be aware of these factors when you apply for a credit card.
Cash Advance Fee
Most credit cards are equipped with a cash advance facility. You can withdraw a certain proportion (e.g. 15% to 20%) of your credit limit as a cash advance. This cash advance facility is not free of charge. You must pay a cash advance fee, together with interest on the cash advance amount @ APR for the number of days between the date of the advance and the date of payment.
Credit cards offer additional benefits such as cashback offers, discounts, and reward points. You can redeem these points at a later date to buy gifts or even books. With some cards, you can use the Reward Points to pay the annual renewal fee. Check with your credit card issuer to see if such an option is available on your card.
Student Credit Cards – Why Use Them?
Now you know how to choose the best credit cards for students. Since this is the first time you will be using a credit card, you should understand why you should use them and what precautions you should take when using them.
- Students are usually between 18 and 23 years old when they apply for a student credit card. Starting early gives you an advantage because the age of your accounts is a crucial aspect that determines your creditworthiness.
- If you pay back the credit card fees on time, you will build up a decent repayment history. This will help improve your credit rating and prove beneficial when you apply for a regular credit card, loan, or mortgage in the future.
- You can take advantage of various cashback offers, rebates, and other attractive gift offers when you use your student credit card wisely.
- As a rule, students begin their careers with the burden of repaying their educational loans. Having and maintaining a credit card can help you develop a decent credit rating.
Important Points for students
- Use your credit cards wisely. Do not fall into the trap of purchasing things that you do not need or that you can’t afford.
- Pay your bills on time. If you carry forward your payments, you have to pay interest. It also affects your credit rating.
We have seen what student credit cards are and how you should choose the best one. Develop sound financial discipline and build a good credit history. This will help you later in your life when you apply for loans and a mortgage.