Student credit cards can be a great way to start a student down the path of financial independence and becoming a responsible adult. Many parents of students decide to open up credit card accounts for their children or to add them to their own personal accounts. But, another great option is to help the young adult get his or her own personal student credit card.
Why Should I Get a Student Credit Card?
Since a student credit card is in the young adult’s name, it helps to start building credit. The longer a person’s credit history, the better his or her credit score. Therefore, the earlier a person can start building that credit history, the better. Conversely, college student with access to his or her parent’s account can adversely affect the parent’s credit rating if large debts are accumulated. So, not only do credit cards for college students help them build a credit history and learn financial responsibility, it also protects the parents.
Why do Credit Card Companies Offer Special Student Credit Cards?
Obtaining your first credit card can be difficult, particularly if you want to get a decent APR. Credit card companies realize the value of a college education and assume that a student with limited credit history is more likely to responsible with paying back credit card debt than a person who is not working toward a solid future. In addition, student credit cards are a great investment for credit card companies because many people tend to feel a sense of loyalty toward their first credit card. Therefore, credit card companies are hoping to establish a long term relationship with students by being their first card.
Do Student Credit Cards Have Benefits?
Besides the inherent benefits of teaching the student responsibility, many do have additional benefits. Some do have rewards programs and cash back programs. Yet others provide discounts in places that are meaningful to students, such as bookstores. Not all credit cards for college students have these benefits, however, so it is important to compare all of the cards closely before deciding which one you want.
What are the Different Kinds of Student Credit Cards?
When it comes to credit cards for college students, you have two main options: secured or unsecured. Secured credit cards for college students are ones that money is paid up front in order to use, which makes these cards more like debit cards. Many college students and their parents prefer this type of card because it is still in the student’s name, it is reported to the credit bureaus, and the parents can provide the young adult with a regular “allowance.” In addition, there is no chance of building up a terrible debt with a secured credit card because a line of credit is not extended.
Unsecured student credit cards are like traditional credit cards in that a line of credit is extended to the student. These cards offer more freedom because payments do not have to be made up front. They are also convenient for the college student if he or she requires loans to help get through school. On the other hand, these student credit cards need to be monitored closely to ensure the student does not get into a debt that is impossible to overcome.
Are There Any Differences Between Student Credit Cards and Traditional Cards?
Sometimes, a guardian needs to co-sign for a student credit card, which is not the case with traditional credit cards. In addition, student credit cards generally offer a lower credit limit than other cards. Often, these credit limits can be as low as just $500 or $1,00. Student credit cards also can have higher interest rates than traditional credit cards, though not necessarily higher than the APRs on other credit cards geared toward those with a limited credit history.