Tips for Using aCollege Credit CardA college credit card has become almost a necessity for students whether they are used strictly for emergencies, education-related expenses, or travel costs. However, young adults need to understand how to prevent a handy financial tool from getting out of control, which is sometimes the case.
A college credit card comes with many benefits, but many students aren’t aware of how to reap those benefits without facing the potential dangers of credit card abuse. There are some strategies young adults can use to achieve that balance. For example, students (and adults, for that matter) should not use their credit cards to obtain cash advances. These cash advances may seem like amazing conveniences, but typically there is no grace period for paying them back as there are with other purchases. That means interest begins accumulating the moment the money is withdrawn. Plus, an additional cash advance fee is added onto the amount.
Students should also practice responsible credit card usage. Ideally, no credit card user would charge more on a card than he or she could pay back in full when the bill arrives. Of course, that’s rarely the case. Even if a student cannot afford to pay the entire balance on a college credit card, he or she should pay as much as possible and should only pay just the minimum balance when it is absolutely necessary. Otherwise, he or she will be paying for those college purchases for over a decade.
College Credit Cards = Free Gifts
Another important tip when it comes to obtaining a college credit card is that no student really needs more than one. While having a single college credit card can have its advantages, having multiple cards is a recipe for financial disaster. What’s worse is that many credit card companies try very hard to get students to apply for their cards, regardless of whether they already have a card or have a steady income.
The most common tactic used by credit card companies is to offer free gifts to students who sign up for their cards. According to a 1998 Public Research Interests Group (PRIG) survey, students received a wide-range of gifts, including T-shirts, soda, candy, coffee mugs, and more just for completing applications.
Additionally, these credit card companies provide bonuses to student groups who set up and work at the tables. These groups can earn money per completed application or flat rates per day for their efforts.
1. More tips for responsible college credit card use can be found at the Minnesota Society of Public Accountants’ web site.