The word “college” is practically synonymous with credit cards. In fact, you would be hard pressed to not find a major credit card booth setup at a college across America at any given time throughout the school year. With such easy access to credit, students can end up getting into more of a bind than they initially planned on. That can lead to financial trouble down the road, which is why college students need to play it safe before they think about signing on the dotted line.

What You Need to Know

Lets face it college is expensive. Having a credit card can help with various expenses that many college students face. The key to being a successful (and responsible) cardholder, however, is to know how to get the most leverage from your card without putting yourself in financial despair.

Are you currently enrolled in college and thinking about signing up for a credit card to help with your expenses? If so, there are 3 critical things that you need to know before you make the leap. Follow these closely and you will not have to worry about any potential misuse of your credit card!

#1 Its Not a Free for All

This is one of the most important rules of credit that many people seem to forget, especially those who are younger. Just because you have access to credit does not mean that its there for you to charge anything at the drop of a hat. Building credit takes responsibility and self-control, making your credit card something that should only be used when it is absolutely necessary.

If youre planning on using a line of credit to live off of or to fund your weekend trips to the bars, it might be best to pass on your credit plans until you know you can manage your credit responsibly.

#2 The Terms Need to Be Read Closely

Do you ever read the terms and conditions of anything you commit to? If not, you could be putting yourself in a trap that will hard to climb out of.

This is why its crucial that you always read through everything before you make a commitment. Credit cards can often have hidden fees that may not be easily seen on the surface, which is why its necessary to look at the terms of the card your being offered.

Looking up terms also works great when comparing multiple cards. This allows you to see and compare interest rates, various fees and more. This simple (but often overlooked) step can literally save you money in the long run, so it pays to pay attention.

#3 You Can Get a Great Start on Building a Solid Credit Profile

There truly isnt a better time to start building credit than when youre in college. It gives you a few years to build up your credit profile, helping you get the edge you need when youre out of college and in the workforce. Manage your card responsibly and you will be able to take advantage of opportunities like home and auto ownership at a reasonable interest rate.

Be Smart About Credit

College is about creating memories and solidifying the plans for your future. You can keep that future looking bright by managing your money and developing good financial habits. Do that and you will be able to continually keep the weight of credit shifting in your favor!

Sam Jones, the author, has been researching student credit card options on credit card comparison site and thinks there are a lot of reasonable options for students.

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