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Student credit cards are great to have when you need help to pay for textbooks and
other purchases but can also spell disaster if you aren't careful. When it comes
to choosing the best student credit card, there are numerous choices available today.
Do you know what are the things you should look for before you apply? Here are 10
tips to help you decide on what is the best student credit card for college students
What to Look for in a Student Credit Card
1. Low Interest Rates
You want to look for student credit cards that offer low interest rate. Anything
around 10% or less would be considered low these days.
Also, make sure that these credit cards have fixed rate interest rates as well. A
reasonable interest rate will save you from acquiring too much debt. And, if you
intend to carry a balance for the next month, a low interest will be a big advantage.
2. Reasonable Credit Limit You don't necessarily need a student credit card with
very high credit line. Typically, the best student credit card will start with a
low credit limit of $500 or less.
A low credit line helps you to live within your budget. A credit limit that's too
high makes it too easy for you to charge more than you can afford, which can lead
to debt. Use your credit cards only when absolutely necessary.
3. Sufficient Grace Periods A grace period is the amount of time you're given before
it starts accumulating interest in your account. Some student credit cards have grace
periods of up to 30 days, but the average is around 23 days.
Be aware that some cards have no grace period at all which means you'll have to pay
considerably more interest, even if you pay your balance in full each month.
4. No Hidden Charges You also need to watch out for student credit cards that offer
low interest rates but will weigh you down with additional fees. The two biggest
culprits are late and over-the-limit fees. All of these fee amounts vary from card
to card, as read the details about when and how they are charged to the account.
For example, some credit card companies charge over-the-limit fees of as much as
$35 even when your account goes over the limit by as little as a dollar. Late fees
are generally around $25 for most student credit cards, but some offer a leniency
period which provides a few days past the due date for the payment to made without
a penalty being incurred.
Additionally, you might want to get a student credit card with no annual fee or a
reasonable annual fee and reasonable penalty charges.
5. Online Account Management This conveniently allow you to keep track of your account
online at any time. This way, there's need to travel to credit card companies for
transactions, thus saving you a significant amount of time.
6. Incentives and Bonuses Don't forget to look for a student credit card that not
only allows you to spend but rewards you for your purchases as well. Some use points
system that are earned with each credit card use and if you accumulate enough points,
you may convert them for a variety of items.
However, keep in mind that student credit cards with reward programs often come with
higher rates than credit cards that don't give rewards so you'll want to be very
careful about being late on your payments.
7. No Unnecessary Promos It's important for you as a student credit card holder to
keep in mind that you need to build a good credit history for yourself by not getting
into unpaid debts. Therefore, the best student credit card should not bombard you
with promos that are too hard to resist.
8. Check Credit Cards from Credit Unions Don't forget to check credit cards that
are offered by credit unions. Most are specially designed to benefit students and
come with reasonable rates. Some credit unions even offer no annual fees.
9. Build Your Credit History Of course, it's very important that your student credit
card reports to the three major credit bureaus as this is the way to build our credit
history. Don't forget the main reason why you're getting a student credit card is,
to start building your credit history early.
10. Genuine Student Credit Cards Last but not least, make sure that the credit card
you're applying for is specially tailored to meet your needs as a student. Some credit
card companies may advertise credit cards that "can be" used by students but in actual
fact, they're just regular credit cards. Always, do your research and look for a
credit card issuer that really has a separate credit card created for college students