Student Credit Cards


Student Credit Cards - Costs and Features

Student credit cards credit terms differ among card issuers, so make sure to shop around for the card that is best for you. Which one is best may depend on how you plan to use it. If you plan to pay bills in full each month, the size of the annual fee or other fees, and not the periodic and annual percentage rate, may be more important. If you expect to use your student credit card to pay for purchases over time, the APR and the balance computation method are important terms to consider. In either case, keep in mind that your costs will be affected by whether or not there is a grace period.

When student credit card shopping, you probably will want to look at other factors besides costs -- such as whether the credit limit is high enough to meet your needs, how widely the card is accepted, and what services and features are available under the plan. You may be interested, for example, in "affinity cards" -- all-purpose credit cards that are sponsored by professional organizations, college alumni associations, and some members of the travel industry. Frequently, an affinity card issuer donates a portion of the annual fees or transaction charges to the sponsoring organization, or allows you to qualify for free travel or other bonuses.

Student Credit Cards - Some Suggestions

  • Shop for student credit card terms that are best for you.

  • Make sure you understand the terms of a card plan before you accept the card. Review the disclosures of terms and fees that must appear on credit-card offers you receive in the mail.

  • Pay bills promptly to keep finance charges as low as possible.

  • Keep copies of merchandise sales slips and promptly compare charges when your bills arrive.  Do your accounting and keep a history of your accounting.

  • Protect your credit cards and account numbers to prevent unauthorized use. Draw a line through blank spaces above the total when you sign receipts. Rip up or retain carbons.

  • Keep a list of your credit card numbers and the telephone numbers of each card issuer in a safe place in case your cards are lost or stolen.

Remember that there is a difference between a debit card and a credit card.  The debit card pulls the money from your checking account at the time of transaction when you buy your merchandise.  The credit card bills you at the end of the month.  Remember to keep a history of your accounting and book-keeping.  Good records are your best defense to any disputes that you might have with with an issuer.

Student Credit Card Shopping Checklist

Student credit cards shopping tips as as follows:.

  • Make a list of features that best fit your needs, and rank them according to how you plan to use the card.
  • If you are currently a cardholder and have a good credit rating, ask the issuer of your card to lower your current rate or to reduce or waive your annual fee. Negotiate.
  • Review the following information about the plans:

    Availability - Is the card accepted nationally or regionally? Is it state specific or store specific?

    Interest rate pricing - Is the interest rate fixed, variable or tiered? If the rate is variable, what is the index? The margin? The multiple?

    APR - What is the APR for purchases, cash advances, balance transfers, etc? Is there a late payment penalty rate?

    Finance charge - What method for determining the outstanding balance is used to calculate the finance charge?

    Annual fee - What is the annual fee?

    Grace period - What is the grace period for purchases?

    Other features - Does the plan offer enhancements that are attractive to you, such as cash rebates, purchase protections, warranties or guarantees, travel accident or automobile rental insurance, discounts on goods and services purchased, and incentives for use, such as frequent flyer miles? Are these features available at no extra cost?


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