There are both positive and negative aspects to securing a credit card when students go off to college.
On the plus side, beginning to build a credit score early will help young people to afford things as they get older. When you graduate from college, you will suddenly be responsible for renting an apartment or house, making care payments and perhaps applying for a mortgage. If you have already established a credit history, you will be more likely to obtain these things.
On the other hand, many college students are uneducated when it comes to financial responsibility. If young adults are not advised of the dangers of using their credit cards and if they spend more than their income allows, they might find themselves in a nasty situation before they even get out in the world.
That said, college students should be frugal with credit cards and pay close attention to their balances on each one. Here are a few of the most popular student credit cards.
Citi Dividend Platinum Student Credit Card
This is one of the most popular student cards because of its 5% cash back rewards on purchases at supermarkets, gas stations and drug stores nationwide. It has a 0% introductory APR and no annual fee, though the introductory period lasts only six months. After that, the APR is a variable interest rate set at 17.99%, which is extremely high. Students who apply for this credit card should plan on paying off their balances after the introductory period.
Citibank offers travel accident insurance when you use the card for plane tickets and rental cars as well as free online account management. The Citi Dividend Platinum card comes with PhotoCard, which is an added security feature that places your picture on the face of the card for identification purposes.
This card is nearly the same as the one above, but it does not come with cash back rewards. The regular APR is also marginally lower and has no balance transfer fee. In addition to travel accident insurance, the Citi Platinum card also offers free coverage for damage due to collision when you charge a rental car purchase to this credit card. It comes with PhotoCard and Lost Wallet Protection, both Citibank trademarks.
Discover Student Classic Credit Card
The Discover Student card is one of the best available when it comes to combination rewards programs. You earn 5% cash back when you use the card at select merchants, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. After that, you can double your cash back purchase rewards by using them for gift certificates at the Get More program sponsors. This card has no annual fee and an introductory APR of 0%. After the introductory period, the APR is 16.99%. There are no fees for balance transfers.
Chase Platinum Student Credit Card
Chase is one of the most popular credit card merchants with more than 900 available credit cards. Their student card is a great deal with a 0% introductory APR and no annual fee. The regular APR is 17.74%. This card is also a reward points program; you receive one point for every dollar you spend. Once you’ve accrued enough points, you can redeem them for gift certificates to stores like Home Depot, the Gap, Old Navy and American Eagle. Students can choose from a wide range of card designs and receive access to low-rate student loans. They also have rental car insurance and purchase protection assurance.
Universal Entertainment Student MasterCard
This is one of the more unique student cards, and also features a rewards program. When students make purchases with this card, they earn one Universal Point for every dollar they spend toward movie tickets, CD’s, movies and merchandise. When you make your first purchase, you automatically receive a free movie ticket. This card has no annual fee with a 0% introductory APR. There is no fee for balance transfers. Some of the major card benefits include invitations to advance movie screenings, free eMusic downloads, an interest free grace period on all purchases, and special guest benefits at Universal Orlando Resorts (including extended check-out and complimentary access to spa and recreation equipment facilities).
Can I get a credit card if im enrolled?
To qualify for any of the card offers above, you must be enrolled in an accredited four-year college or university. Most financial institutions will require either a faxed copy of your student ID (with picture) or a copy of your most recent tuition statement.
The start of your credit history
Obtaining a student credit card can be a step in the right direction for students who wish to begin building positive credit history. Use them wisely, however, and talk to a parent or friend about the consequences of poor financial decisions.