It’s one thing to show interest in a student credit card, but another thing entirely to make the right decision at the right time.
Student credit cards are designed for consumers ages 18 to 22 with limited or no credit history.
Do You Qualify?
As a result of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act of 2009, credit card issuers were forced to make changes to marketing practices and the type of consumers they target.
Here are a few things to remember :
- Credit card issuers are not permitted to offer tangible items, such as t-shirts or food, to entice a student to sign up for a credit card. In fact, issuers aren’t allowed to market to students within 1,000 feet of campus.
- Students under the age of 21 must have a co-signer or an independent source of income.
- Card issuers are not permitted to provide students under the age of 21 with a pre-screened offer.
What to Look for in a Student Credit Card
Now that we have some of the finer details out of the way, let’s turn our attention to what you should look for in a student credit card:
- No annual fee: It’s not uncommon for cardholders to pay an annual fee for top of the line credit cards, such as those that provide a robust cash back or rewards program. However, with a student credit card, you should never pay an annual fee. There are enough offers out there that you don’t have to consider cards with a fee.
- Security: What type of security measures does the issuer offer? Is credit monitoring included? While most student credit cards provide cardholders with a variety of security related enhancements, this doesn’t hold true across the board. This is an important consideration, as you never know what could go wrong in the future.
- Incentives: Credit card issuers can offer a variety of incentives, such as a cash bonus for maintaining a certain GPA or a higher credit limit if you continually pay your bill in full and on time.
What to do Next
With the above points guiding you, it’s time to turn your attention to the search process. There is no shortage of student credit cards, so you won’t have to look far to find a handful that pique your interest.
Start your search online, as this allows you to efficiently find and compare student credit cards.
Once you narrow your options, contact the issuers to ask any questions that are on your mind. This will give you the opportunity to clear the air and collect additional information that you may have overlooked.
Finally, when you’re 100 percent sure of which offer is best, apply online and wait for a final decision.
A credit card isn’t the right financial tool for every student, but there may come a point when you want to learn more.
With the information above, you should feel confident in your ability to find the student credit card that best suits your personal requirements, financial situation, and money related goals.