When I was 18, my dad added me to one of his credit card accounts. He not only wanted to help me start building my credit, he also wanted to teach me how to use a credit card responsibly. Looking back now, I am thankful for his wisdom and guidance. Instead of leaving college with mounds of debt, I left with zero debt and a high credit score. I was able to buy my first house right out of college, which was pretty exciting!
If you’re thinking about getting your first credit card, it isn’t a terrible idea. In fact, it would be a smart move as long as you are responsible with your spending. Paying your balances in full and on time will help you build your credit so that you can buy bigger ticket items, like a house or car. When you have no credit or low credit, you are limited to what you can buy without having a co-signer.
When you are ready to get your first card, I would recommend researching the different credit cards available to students to see which one is the best fit. I would also recommend starting with only one credit card, until you have proven that you can manage your spending. The Discover it® chrome for Students and Discover it® for Students are two cards worth looking into. Not only do they offer cash back on purchases, they also provide your FICO® Credit Score for free and access to their new Freeze It℠ feature.
Benefits of Having a Discover it Card for Students
- Discover it chrome for Students offers an automatic 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases quarterly, plus 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- Discover it for Students offers 5% cash back in categories that change each quarter, up to the quarterly maximum in combined purchases, when you sign up, plus 1% cash back on all other purchases.
- Receive up to the past 12 months of your FICO® Credit Score for free and have the ability to view key factors that impact your score.
- Access to Freeze It℠ — an on/off switch for your card. Cardmembers can freeze their card in seconds using the Discover mobile app or website to prevent new purchases, balance transfers and cash advances.
In addition to these awesome benefits, Discover recently launched its Good Grades Reward Program, which exclusively rewards new student cardmembers who apply after July 23, 2015 with $20 in Cashback Bonus® if their grade point average is 3.0 (or equivalent) or higher each year they are enrolled in school, for the first five years from the account opening.
Credit Card Tips for College Students
1. Pay your bill on time
2. Pay your statement balance in full (that means don’t spend more than you can afford to pay off!)
3. Don’t spend too close to your credit limit
4. Don’t have more than 1-2 cards at a time — it’s hard to keep track of and you will risk spending beyond your means
5. Find a card with no annual fee that offers cashback on your spending
While having a credit card can be helpful, it can also be detrimental to your credit score if you are not careful. The key is to be responsible! Follow these tips and you will be on your way to a bright financial future.
Do you have any credit cards? What are your tips for maintaining good credit?
I wrote this post as part of the Discover Preferred Blogger Program. All opinions are my own.
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