Student Credit Cards
A major part of entering a new phase of life as a student is also taking on personal financial responsibility. One of the first components of this is acquiring the right type of student card, most of which are specifically built with the particular financial needs of students in mind.
Since student credit cards are built for those with little to no financial history, they tend to have much lower credit limits and charge higher interest rates than most other cards. While this may seem like a burden at first, it is also a good way to introduce yourself to financial responsibility.
Requirements of Student Cards
Student cards have specific eligibility rules that you must meet for you to qualify for a new card. Although these rules may change from issuer to issuer, the following are the standard requirements most student card issuers hold:
- Student must be at least 18 years old
- Student must hold an account created by the bank you are applying to
- Student must be currently enrolled in a university
There are many benefits that come with a student credit card. Many issuers provide student credit cards with an interest free period for certain purchases, within a limited period of time. One example of how these can be useful is to purchase books in the beginning of a semester and pay them off over time.
If you plan to take advantage of this benefit, it’s important to pay off all your outstanding charges before the introductory period ends because once this period ends you will be charged the regular purchase APR.
Can I Earn Rewards?
Depending on your card issuer you may be able to get rewards in many forms, though most likely in the form of cash back. Take particular note on which type of purchases you can earn rewards on. If this is your first time with a card and you have no credit history, this is a good opportunity to build up your credit score. Building up your credit score is vital since it will be the biggest factor that allows you to upgrade to a standard credit card. The higher your credit score the more likely you are to receive cards with a higher rewards rate and lower interest rate.
What To Do After Your Graduate
Once you graduate from college, you can continue to use your student card although hopefully you will have built up enough credit history to apply for a card with a higher credit limit and richer rewards program. As mentioned before, if you have managed your card effectively and paid off all your bills on time, you may have a credit score high enough to qualify for a rewards card or other commercial cards.
When comparing student cards, consider which features most suit your needs. For example, many student cards are affiliated with Amazon Prime, which may be a good choice for you if you use the retail platform regularly.
Student credit cards tend to carry much higher interest rates than other commercial cards. Paying off your card balance in full each month will prevent you from paying unwanted interest expenses. Similarly, student credit cards also tend to have lower credit limits, which means that you have to be able to plan your spending in advance and in an organized manner. However, if you consistently pay your bills on time, the card issuer may increase your credit limit. The reason for a higher interest rate and lower spending limits is because students mostly have no past financial history. Therefore, in order to protect against default, students cards are more restrictive. The benefit of restrictive credit limits and higher APRs is it also makes student cards easier to qualify for compared to other cards.