The use of credit cards by students is at an all time high, and each year more and more students and young people are signing up to use credit cards. The alarming increase in these numbers has generated a lot of concern from various sources about the easy availability of credit cards and the potential pitfalls of irresponsible credit card use. But there is significant benefit that student credit cards can offer, including the opportunity for young cardholders to learn how to manage and build credit.
An alarming percentage of students and young people are already more than $10,000 in credit card debt and to complicate things even further, many of these students have yet to start earning a stable income. Financial responsibility is something that has to be taught at home, but most parents do not have the time nor the patience required to adequately guide their children about the vagaries and responsibilities of using and managing credit wisely.
The cornerstone of proper personal financial planning is living well within your means. But peer pressure plays a major role in a student’s life and, for young people in particular, it is extremely difficult to ignore the latest trends. Easy access to student credit cards is part of the problem for students trying to establish and build credit, and it has become very difficult to avoid credit card offers that allow students to complete a “brief” application form and obtain a credit card in such a short amount of time.
But wise use of these credit cards can help those students who might otherwise struggle to pay their college fees and meet their day to day expenses as well as those who are just looking to get an early start on building their credit. Credit card issuers have recognized the market opportunity and have been offering increasingly competitive student credit card offers everyday.
Another distinct advantage of having a student credit card is that it helps in starting the process of building a good credit history. Starting to build credit early will go a long way for young people trying to establish a financial track record prior to that first car or first home purchase.
A highly recommended alternative of an unsecured student credit card is a debit or prepaid card with a credit limit. Money for purchases made on this card is just deducted from existing funds deposited in the student’s account and when the spending reaches the limit, the student simply is not allowed to make any more purchases.
Before you decide to get a student credit card, you should pay special attention to any fees, exclusions and restrictions that might limit the use of the card. Also, lookout for the rewards they are offering and then compare the overall costs that you have to bear. Also, don’t forget to check for balance transfer transaction fees, blackout dates on rewards offers or for any restrictions or limitations which will fall under the terms and conditions.