[DISCLOSURE: Cards from our partners are reviewed below.]
If you are a college student looking for a student credit card, you have plenty of options.
Banks and credit card issuers want you as a customer. And they’d like to keep you as a customer as you embark on a successful post-college career.
Because of this, local banks and credit unions near your college campus are likely to offer special credit card deals for area college students. And plenty of national credit card issuers offer credit cards for students as well.
What’s a Student Credit Card?
Student credit cards are basically just regular credit cards that are specifically designed for college students. They typically have more lenient requirements when it comes to credit history, so they can be easier to get if you’ve never had a credit card before. And just like a standard credit card, many student cards are available with cash back rewards and 0% introductory rates. For example, the Discover it Chrome for Students offers a 0% APR for six months on purchases and balance transfers, plus 2% cash back at restaurants and gas stations on up to $1,000 in purchases every quarter, and 1% cash back on all other purchases. After the introductory rate expires, the standard variable rate applies; which is currently 14.24% - 23.24% Variable on purchases & balance transfers depending on credit.
Obviously, this can end up being a cost-effective way to charge textbooks and other school expenses you may need a few months to pay off. Keep in mind, though, that once the introductory rate expires, it’s ideal to pay your balance in full each month and avoid paying interest charges on debt that could ultimately cancel out your reward benefits.
Do I Have to Be 21 to Get a Student Card?
Because of the CARD Act, if you are under 21 and wish to open your own credit card account, you will need a co-signer who is older than 21, or you will need to provide adequate proof of income that shows you can handle the credit obligation on your own.
If you have bad credit and are on the hunt for a student credit card, you can reach out to a small bank or credit union near your college campus. A smaller bank or credit union may have more lenient credit standards and may be more willing to offer a credit card to a college student with less-than-perfect credit.
Not sure of your credit standing? You can check out your two free credit scores on Credit.com. You’ll also get an easy-to-understand breakdown of your credit history.
Once you qualify for a college credit card, you’ll want to use your student MasterCard or student Visa card wisely. Making a series of on-time payments with a college credit card is a great way to build a solid credit history. So pay that card bill on time each and every month and keep balances low whenever you can.
Constance Brinkley-Badgett contributed to this article.
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