I wrote this post as part of the Discover Preferred Blogger Program. All opinions are my own.
Even though I’ve been done with college for awhile now, I still remember the excitement and nervousness I felt when I first started. I was anxious to start the next chapter of my life, but scared at the same time to have so much independence. It’s a big change — going from living at home with parents who pay for the majority of your expenses to living on your own and learning how to financially support yourself, all while taking a full course load of classes.
The reality is not all college students are fortunate enough to have parents who pay for their college education. Many students have to work multiple jobs or take out student loans to pay for their education. While I wouldn’t recommend taking out multiple credit cards (that’s a disaster waiting to happen!), there are definitely times when it would be beneficial for a college student to have a least one credit card. The new Discover it Chrome Card for Students is a great option. Students can use it to manage their expenses, build their credit and earn rewards at the same time.
5 Tips to Introducing Your College Student to Credit Cards
1. Students can still earn rewards with a credit card: Not all student credit cards provide rewards, so find one that does. In particular, think about what types of purchases students would be making most often.
- For example, Discover rewards your student with 2% Cashback Bonus on the first $1,000 in combined gas and restaurant purchases each quarter. There is no sign-up required, so earning these rewards is completely automatic (one less thing to think about!). When they’re not buying gas or food at restaurants, they’ll earn unlimited 1% Cashback Bonus on all other purchases, and anywhere between 5% and 20% through Discover Deals.
2. Building a credit history begins on Day One: Students generally aren’t thinking about building credit, but as soon as their first credit card makes it into their wallet, they are building a credit history that employers, landlords and lenders will one day use to assess their creditworthiness. There are a limited number of ways to have access to this score, and Discover is one of those providers.
- All Discover cardmembers, including students, receive their FICO credit score for free each month on their statement and when they log into Discover.com. As students are developing their credit, they can keep an eye on their score by reviewing their Discover statement each month. Knowing their credit score can help them avoid surprises and continue to grow their credit smartly.
3. Stay protected from fraudulent purchases: In today’s world, fraud can happen to anyone – but it doesn’t have to be damaging in the long-term. College students, like any adult, can misplace their card or have it stolen, and it’s important to be with a credit card company that doesn’t hold you responsible for this. Make sure you card covers you in the event that an unauthorized charge is made on your account.
- Students are protected with Discover cards with its $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee, meaning that you aren’t responsible for unauthorized charges. Just call Discover if something looks suspicious.
4. Fast, kind, helpful customer service is absolutely key: Your first credit card can be overwhelming, and sometimes parents aren’t readily available to answer a pressing question about the card. Make sure your student has a card that offers high-quality, day-and-night customer service agents to answer questions immediately.
- That’s why Discover’s customer service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And, real people in the U.S. are answering the phone – friendly customer service representatives are available to help your student understand their new credit card so they can spend more time on their studies. Cardmembers can also reach out through Twitter @Discover, or can chat with a specialist when they log into Discover.com.
5. Bonus – take advantage of mobile apps on-the-go: Your credit card should offer a mobile app that you can access on-the-go with your smartphone or tablet; this can often be the quickest way to be aware of your account activity.
- The Discover Mobile app lets cardmembers access their entire account wherever they are, and also provides access to earning Cashback Bonus, redeeming it, and contacting customer service.
What helpful tips would you give to someone who is getting a credit card for the first time?