College student credit cards are a new marketing phenomenon. Two decades ago, college students never had the opportunity to take their pick of the credit cards currently available today. But with the changing needs of students all across America, it was only a matter of time before college student credit cards became a common medium of exchange.
What makes college student credit cards different?
Their function is exactly the same as that of regular credit cards, except that many credit card companies recognize the special needs of college students and offer certain perks that you normally will not find anywhere else. A student credit card, for example, can offer you a discount for the purchase of school supplies or other school-related materials. It can also come at a much lower interest rate.
Where can I find them?
Everywhere, actually. Your school campus, for one. Each September you'll probably find credit card representatives setting up tables and kiosks on your campus grounds to offer their college student credit cards services. A pretty convenient opportunity if you decide to get your credit card this way. You can also take advantage of the free stuff these companies usually give away with each application.
On the downside, you could be limiting your options to what these credit card companies have to offer. More often than not, many of the college student credit cards that are marked on campuses do not always have the best rates. They may, in fact, be quite high.
To find the best rates, you might want to call up several credit card companies to see what their interest rates are or go online and shop around. You should not be pressured to get a college student card offered on campus if you could get one with a better APR online.
What good would a college student credit card do for me?
A lot, actually. It is a good and safe substitute for cash and is a convenient way to pay for anything you wish to buy. It can tide you over in case of emergencies when money is tight and you can access many services online and off with a simple swipe.
A college student credit card can also give you your first taste of financial independence and responsibility. After all, you will be the one who'll be shelling out the cash to pay for your credit card bill each month. It can give you your first-hand experience in managing your money and teach you some valuable lessons in the process.
Is plastic always fantastic?
You may have heard of the horror stories, but much of the rap that college student credit cards receive is mostly undeserved. Photo student credit cards are not inherently evil; it's the way they are used that leads a student to a lot of financial trouble.
Many college students fall hard and heavy for the spending power that credit cards give. They go right ahead and charge a lot of stuff they do not really need and can not afford to pay for at the end of the month.
There are serious ramifications for this kind of irresponsibility. If a student allows his bad spending habits to continue, he could rack up a huge credit card bill that he is ill equipped to pay for. It's not uncommon to find a student struggling with a huge credit card debt even before he graduates from college.
On the brighter side …
It's not always a sad relationship. Just like any financial tool, a college student credit card can help you build and establish a good credit history, provided you use it responsibly. Remember that convenience comes with a price. If you have the discipline and can stick to a budget, a college student credit card may just work in your favor.