When students go off to college, they are both excited and scared. Both the excitement and fear comes from their taste of freedom from home and an increased sense of responsibilities. It is fun to think about new friends, more in-depth classes, and interesting professors. It is terrifying to think about the fact that there are no mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, and grandparents to bail them out.
Part of learning about responsibilities of life for a college student is figuring out how to manage their finances. A student credit card is a handy tool to help students train themselves to be disciplined spenders and not go overboard.
In addition to learning about responsibilities, a college student needs to start building a positive credit history that will benefit them in the future. They need to have a good credit score when they graduate so they can be prepared for what lies ahead in life itself when they leave the comfort of a college setting.
Many credit card companies offer contracts to students with who are over 18 years of age and enrolled in college. Student cards are very similar to regular cards in that they may also offer rewards and other incentives, which allow the student to engage more positively with the card and monitor their spending. Some cards offer point systems and reward points according to the amount of money spent; others may present students with 0% introductory APR or annual percentage rate.
Three credit card companies have risen to the top when it comes to providing college students with opportunities to learn about financial responsibility and build a credit history.
Discover It Student Card
The Discover It student card gives students cash back on their purchases. The CatID of purchases rotates every three months and includes movies, dining, gas, and other items attractive to college-age individuals. Students would get 5% back for items on the rotation and 1% back on all other purchases. In addition, there is a 0% APR introductory deal for the first six months. There is no annual fee for this card.
Citi Forward Card
The Citi Forward card offers points as an incentive rather than cash back. The Citi Forward card gives students five points for every dollar they spend on books, video rental stores, music stores, and movie theaters. These categories cater to college students, as they are typical expenses. Students also earn one point for every dollar spent outside the categories.
As added bonuses, Citi also rewards students 100 points each month that they pay their bills on time and stay within their credit limits. This is huge incentive for students to be self-disciplined with their spending. Students can also earn Thank You Points for the following:
5 Thank You Points for every dollar spent at restaurants and for entertainment, and
1 Thank You Point for every dollar spent outside of restaurants and entertainment.
Capital One Journey Student Rewards Card
Capital One has a student Journey card that benefits college students. It gives students 1% cash back on all their purchases. In addition, 25% cash back is rewarded on the cash back earned each month if bills are paid on time. The great thing about this card is that students dont have to worry about their cash back expiring because it doesnt. There is also no cap on what is earned.
Since students dont often have extensive credit histories and dont really need that much money to begin with, student card limits are not expected to be very high. Having a credit card in college, however, allows students to learn how to monitor their spending and gives them a chance to get into the habit of paying off their bills on time. The incentives are a huge draw for students as well. With early training and exposure to the world of credit, hopefully students will be ready for what lies ahead and does not dig themselves into huge financial homes like many people.
Sam Jones, the author, tries to compare credit cards at Uswitch.com to find the best student credit cards on offer each month.
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