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Student Credit Card - Choosing Your First Card

Aug 17, 2007
Every young student going off to college wants the liberty of having their own credit card. What a great privilege it is, and sometimes, it could even be a great gift idea for a student, too. If you are in the process of choosing your first student credit card, or helping that special student of yours get their own card, before you start looking, some things should be considered - both about the young person, and about the types of cards available.

A Word About You

If you are a young person looking to get your very first credit card, then listen for a moment to a couple of things. A credit card can be a blessing or a curse -- all depending on how you use it - and on who is footing the bill. Regardless of what you do with that credit card, the world is watching, and if you overcharge it, make late payments on it, or whatever, it will go toward your credit rating and affect it for years to come. When you get ready to buy that car, or those electronics, or clothes, it can affect that, too. Learn the proper use of finances and how to best use a card. The Internet would be a good place to pick up on this information if you do not already know it. Just by typing in the words "student credit card" you will find many Webs sites that can instruct you on how to best use it.

A Word About The Cards

Here are some things to look for when you want to get that special student credit card.

The APR

This is the amount of interest that will be added to your student credit cards each month, and it will vary with each card. The best is 0% APR. Unless you have a good job and an excellent credit history already established, it might be difficult to get this kind of card. You need to note just how long of a time this introductory rate applies to the particular college student credit card. For most, it is about a year, but with some it is only good for three months. After that time frame, there is a standard interest level.

The Cash Back Rewards

Many credit cards will now give some sort of incentive to get their card. Usually, it is somewhere between a 1 and 5% return on a specific type of purchase. Often there is one level of rebate given on groceries, medicines, and gas, and a different percentage on general purchases, and then another percentage given if you shop at certain stores. These student credit cards work out great for gas purchases, and other things. Some cards will give you air miles for your purchases, and that could be a good way to save money for flying home during the summer, or holidays. The benefit, however, pretty much ends if your payments are late, or if the card is not paid in full each month. These cards normally charge a little higher percentage in interest, and the benefits may not outweigh the losses.

The Annual Fee

Most cards do not carry an annual fee, but enough of them do to make a note of it here. This fee can vary anywhere between $15 and go up to $135 per year. Some college student credit cards may waive this fee for the first year, but charge it later.
Student credit cards are a great idea in that they also can prevent you from needing to have a lot of cash in the dorm. It gives you an added safety feature - and a good record of your purchases, too, so you can see where the money is going.
About the Author
For more information on student credit cards, Kim Stevens recommends that you visit CreditCardAssist.com.
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