A student credit card is a highly valuable and helpful commodity, and there is a surprising amount of choice available. If you’re looking at obtaining a credit card aimed at students then it will be important to be aware of exactly what is on offer, the advantages and opportunities available, as well as being very aware of your own obligations.
What you will often find is that many student credit card facilities are part of package deals which include a comprehensive set of financial solutions for students, including an appropriate bank account, an overdraft facility, debit cards and online banking solutions.
Being a student can be an expensive experience, and very often the books and resources you need are very costly. If you need a set of books for a forthcoming project or course then it’s often simply not possible to delay buying them until you have the money. Being able to purchase the resources you need when you need them, delaying the cost for a while, can be an essential way of ensuring you have the information you need to do well in your studies.
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No one’s studies should suffer as a result of not having the available funds to purchase the books and equipment needed when they are needed. From expensive textbooks to train fares, and even laptops and computers, the resources that students generally require cost money.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that a student credit card is not free money, and that whatever you spend using the card will have to be paid back. It may be that you have a certain amount of income, and are happy to pay the balance off over time, but if you are in any doubt about how you will pay for the items, then it’s wise to pay close attention to the interest rates.
If you don’t manage to clear the balance within the interest free period, typically 56 days, then you will probably find that a credit card aimed at students will have a much higher rate of interest than a standard credit card. If you don’t manage to pay off the balance then you could see the amount due in interest rising steadily over the weeks and months until it becomes a very poor way of financing your education.
The other aspect to pay attention to is the matter of fees. Most student cards are free to open, but there are some which charge fees. There are also likely to be fees for not paying off the minimum amount each month, or paying late. You will also probably find that withdrawing cash incurs a fee, and the amount of cash withdrawn is charged at a much higher interest rate than the standard rate until you pay it back.
The good thing is that most student credit card providers have a fixed credit limit of about $1,000, which means that the total amount owing is not too unreasonable, given the typical student income and amount you’re likely to be earning once you qualify.
But being able to keep your card in good order will do you a great deal of good as far as your credit record is concerned. Most students have little or no credit history, and your student card may well be the first form of credit you have had. Once you graduate and obtain a job you may then want to look at getting a standard, more comprehensive credit card, bank account or loan, but if your credit history is either poor or nonexistent then you could find yourself unable to obtain the credit you need.
A student credit card can provide you with a good opportunity to create positive data entries on your credit file so that by the time you leave education and look to expand your credit allowance you can demonstrate a good record.
Another aspect of student credit cards to be aware of relates to extras, bonuses and incentives. A significant number of card providers offer these, with anything from cash back incentives to money off coupons and discounts in certain shops or for certain websites. Whilst being able to qualify for a 5% discount at your favourite music store might seem a good idea, it will be worth considering whether a 1% cash back offer might not prove to be more valuable over time.
Another form of incentive might include free travel insurance or some other form of insurance that could prove to be extremely useful and valuable extras that make a student credit card prove to be a valuable resource to help you succeed in your studies.