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A Credit Card Guide For Students

May 13, 2008
When you apply for a credit card for the first time, there are probably a lot of things you're not familiar with and even though you're probably in a boat with a million other students, there are things you need to know when you use your credit card for the first time. Even if you haven't applied for a credit card for the first time, there are a few things you need to look out for.

The APR

The APR or otherwise known as the annual percentage rate is the rate that's going to applied to your unpaid balance. Every time you don't pay off your bill in full, you're going to be charged this rate. This is why I can't stress enough that you pay your bill off in full. You can't treat your credit card like a piece of plastic that's like free money. If you have this mindset, I would highly advise you stay away.

The annual fee

With most first time credit cards, you'll find that most of them don't have an annual fee but it is something you're going to want to look out for. An annual fee is a fee that the credit card companies are going to charge you regardless of how much you use the card. This fee can range anywhere from a dollar and on. There are so many cards on the market; I would recommend you get a card that doesn't have an annual fee.

Intro Rates / Balance Transfers

Sometimes when you look for a credit card for the first time, you may find that they are offering a teaser rate. Let's say for example, that you're looking at a cash back credit card. Some companies may offer the double cash back for the first thirty days. Some people would glance right over this thirty day period and think that they are getting this rate for the length of this card. Make sure that you know exactly what rates you're getting for the life of the card.

The rewards

I think the rewards are one of the most important parts of the card that you can really capitalize on. One of the main reasons people get credit cards are just for the rewards. You're going to have to remember that if you don't pay your bill off in full, you're not going to be able to take advantage of the rewards. Rewards out there range anywhere from cash back to a point based system. This all depends on what you want.

These topics that I just mentioned are the main points that you're going to want to know about when it comes down to your credit card. An easy way to see what your card offers is to either look at the terms and conditions the card carrier gives you or to check the card information online. As long as you as know what your card is about and you're responsible, you shouldn't have troubles with your credit card.
About the Author
Find credit cards for students and more of Tom's work at FINDcollegecards
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