Many college students obtain their first credit card and begin their credit record while still in school. Student credit cards are a new and highly convenient way of making purchases, and also begin a new time of crucial responsibility – that of making the first step into life-long money management.

A student must be very careful in using their credit card.  He/she is starting to build her credit report, which is necessary later on, when buying a house or a car. It’s easy to misuse a first credit card, which will hurt the student in later years. Also, college tuition, books, and other scholastic needs are very expensive, and it can be difficult keeping records and paying your credit card debt on schedule.

Along with the convenience of making purchases, a student credit card will teach the student better money management skills. This is a student’s chance to start building a solid credit history. A credit card also eliminates the need to carry around a lot of cash.  Most student credit cards offer protection against stolen or lost credit cards.

A student is faced with many choices in selecting their first credit card.  The first priority is to find a card with the lowest APR. Student credit cards have low interest rates, but they may come with a lower maximum credit limit. Making payments on time avoids late fees, which can add up quickly. A student doesn’t want to graduate with the burden of a large debt. Understand that a student credit card is not a loan. If it’s helpful, consider the credit debt a high interest loan that just keeps building, and must be paid off by the specified date.

Student credit cards may also offer the benefit of a point system, based on the student’s purchases. Rewards are given, based on how many points she has accrued, and the points can be redeemed for CD’s, DVD’s, and a lot of other stuff.  If a student makes her credit card payments on time, she will also avoid interest charges as well as late fees.

College students receive a lot of credit card offers in the mail. Credit card companies want them to get hooked early, in hopes of obtaining loyal customers for the future.  Students should be discriminating, and not accept the first offers until they’ve done their homework. It’s also convenient to shop and compare credit cards online, and once you’ve made your choice, you can apply online immediately, if the site has a secure server, which most do. Students qualify for a credit card at the age of 18.

By Jasmina