The best credit cards for college students are those that don’t any extra financial burden on them. Building credit is a lot like building a relationship with the credit card companies, and the key element is trust. You want to demonstrate your ability to be responsible and manage any debt you may accumulate.
Best Credit Cards for College Students Criterion
1. Reasonable Credit Limit. Although it may sound fun to be granted thousands of dollars in credit, that is usually a recipe for disaster. One way to make sure you don’t spend beyond your means is to get a card that has a relatively low credit limit to begin with. This will make sure you don’t get sweet talked into buying some expensive toy or piece of clothing and wondering how the heck you are going to pay it off.
2. Low APR. APR or Annual Percentage Rate is the interest you have to pay on the balance on your card. This is how credit card companies make their money. Most of the best credit cards for college students come with a 0% or very low APR introductory rate. This means that the interest will be zero for a period of anywhere from 6 to 12 months. Then it goes up. Make sure that the real APR is not too high. If it’s something like 20% then stay away. And be careful about the kind of balance you’re carrying on your card anyway, that’s how people get in trouble.
3. No annual fee. When searching for the best credit cards for college students, you are going to find some stinkers. And by stinkers, I mean credit card companies that want to charge you a fee for using their card. In some situations, like when you simply can’t get any other credit cards this may be necessary. But more than likely it’s just a way for these companies to make money. Skip those offers and look for a card with no charge per year.
4. No annual salary necessary. As a college student, you probably don’t have much of an income. The best credit cards for college students don’t require that you have much of an income. The card is an opportunity for your to begin demonstrating your credit-worthiness to the companies. A good card should not require you to demonstrate much of an income. And some of the best credit cards for college students do allow you to co-sign with your parents. But unless you are planning on using the card to pay for books or some other large expense, try to get one on your own without any income.
Best Credit Cards for College Students Tips
1. The best credit cards for college students have a GPA incentive. Since the credit card companies know that you aren’t working full time, they sometimes will reward you for good grades. With regular credit cards, people earn reward points for spending money. And it can work like once you have 2000 points you get $20. But with the best credit cards for college students, you get reward points for a good GPA which can be redeemable for cash or prizes.
2. If you get a credit line increase, don’t go to town. Sometimes after you’ve been diligently paying off your balance, the credit card companies will reward you with more credit. Their secret hope is that you spend more money, so you’ll have more money to pay interest on. Resist this urge, and remember having a credit card isn’t a license to print money.
3. Make sure you have a checking account. Even though these cards don’t require much of an income, you need to have a checking account associated with the account for payments and also to demonstrate your financial maturity. Opening an account is easy to do with a small balance and your social security card and driver’s license info.
4. Check out the card perks and protection. The best credit cards for college students should offer online management of your account and fraud protection. This means that if for some reason your card is stolen or you see a charge you don’t recognize, then the credit card company will not hold you liable. This can make it preferable to use your card for some transactions instead of other forms of currency. The best credit cards for college students should offer you that kind of peace of mind, and allow you to build your future credit easily.