By Evan Vitale
When it comes to college students and credits cards, it can sometimes be like mixing oil and water. Sometimes, it seems like credit card companies offer credit to college students like candy.
Too much of anything is a bad thing.
Fortunately, college students still need to qualify for credit and, with some help from parents (and the bank), students can keep themselves out of early credit trouble.
Here are some tips for college students thinking about credit cards:
- Make sure you know how credit cards work. What’s the credit limit? Is there an annual fee? What is the interest rate? When is the due date? What is the penalty and late fee if you can’t pay on time?
- It is a good idea for any student to have a job before they have a credit card. Typically, if a student is under the age of 21 and they don’t have a job, they may need a co-signer in order to obtain a credit card. Even then, higher interest rates may be attached to the card due to the risk involved.
- Make sure you do your research. Many credit card offers will be coming your way as you start college. Check the rules; rates; fees and benefits of each card before filling out an application.
- Avoid signing up for multiple cards. With many credit cards in hand, you’ll be tempted to spend more and, before you know it, you’ll juggling payments and late fees. This is how quickly some college students get into credit trouble.
Some credit cards offer rewards for purchases made using a particular credit card. In some cases, rewards act as cash that you can use to help pay off your credit card balance or they can be cashed in for other perks such as free gas or for gift cards.