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College Credit Cards: Building a Good Credit History at an Early Age

Aug 17, 2007
College student credit cards are intended specifically for students who normally would not qualify for regular credit cards, as they do not have a steady income or a credit history. As a student, it is a good idea to establish a first-rate sound credit history at an early age, which would help you get a regular credit card in the future, regardless of your employment status.

In theory, college credit cards are identical to regular credit cards. However, a college credit card is meant for college students who do not have previous credit history. Hence, these cards have more restrictions or conditions than the generic cards. The top three restrictions include:

- Co-signature from the parent or guardian at the time of application
- Lower credit limit (Example: $500 to $1000)
- Higher interest rates than traditional cards
- Normal interest rates on these cards are 16-18%

A college credit card has become a necessity for most students. The advantages are many provided you understand how the credit card works and use it with caution. Students, especially in United States, are prolific users of these cards. This is primarily because it gives them great flexibility to manage their credit.

Students can use college student credit cards to pay their tuition fees, to rent a car, or to fill gas.
In fact, there are certain cards that offer low interest rates to students who maintain good grades. These cards are also packed with rewards and benefits. These cards help students to learn and manage their finance at a young age.

A college credit card can also be a pre-paid one, with a ceiling on the credit limit. This ensures that the student does not overspend and it also helps parents keep an eye on their children's spending behavior.

There are many college credit card options from Citi, Discover, and Chase. Apart from these, there are many pre-paid card options as well. Most of these student cards have many similar features including:

- 0% APR for the initial period of usually 6 months on both purchases and balance transfers (typically)
- No annual fee, at least for the first year
- Online account management at no extra cost

While many of the above characteristics are also applicable to many traditional more generic credit cards, there are certain distinctive features that make the college student credit card stand apart including:

- 0% liability for any unauthorized charges on the account
- A good GPA helps earns points for the cards
- Theft and fraud alerts

It is a good thought for students to have their own credit card. However, it is important to understand that, at an early age, bad credit could have horrible consequences. Parents can assist their kids in choosing card based on their child's spending behavior and repaying capability. Credit cards can provide financial flexibility at a young age but only if they are used judiciously.
About the Author
Robert Alan recommends that you visit CreditCardAssist.com for more information on college credit cards.
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