Going off to college is a defining moment for most teens. It can be a very scary time for many and financially upsetting for some. Many of these students don’t expect is to be responsible for financial decisions that will follow them for the rest of their life. Most college students aren’t expecting to be offered so many credit cards.
Not all college age kids are aware of credit cards, the importance of choosing wisely or even how to manage their credit cards. Because they don’t know about these things, these students are often overwhelmed and overjoyed to have so many credit card offers. One of the biggest myths of college credit cards is that it’s free money so spend what you want. That is the myth that has ruined many students’ credit scores for years.
Credit Card Reality
With credit cards being issued to college students so quickly and easily, 84% of college students today have at least one credit card before they graduate. By the time many of these students graduate, they carry a balance of $4,000 in credit card debt. For young adults that have no job and student loans, the amount of credit card debt carried is often a burden. Instead of allowing these kids to go into the world of credit cards unprepared, parents can teach them how to manage their credit cards and debt.
Tips for Students
College students should know at least the basics abut credit, credit scores and reports. They should also know what they need to do to manage their credit and how it all relates to the credit cards they apply for and receive.
Keep it Low: No student needs to apply for and receive every credit card they are offered. Having a lot of credit cards is what can ruin a student’s credit because they may not be able to pay all their bills each month. Instead of applying for every credit card, it’s important that college students keep the number of credit cards low.
Look before Applying: There are many amazing credit card offers available to college students. Instead of applying for them all, it’s best that college students take the time to compare interest rates, credit limits as well as rewards. These things often determine how many credit cards students apply for and keep after graduation.
Pay the Bill: Every month a credit card statement comes in the mail, students need to pay the bill. Even if they only pay the minimum amount due, they have to pay their bills. If a student develops the habit of not paying their bills in college, their credit will be ruined at a young age. In today’s world, credit scores and reports are investigated for jobs, internships, externships, apartments, car loans and many other things. The beginning of their adult life will be much harder with ruined credit.
Tell Mom and Dad: When things are financially overwhelming, it’s time to tell mom and dad. Yes, it’s embarrassing but it can save a college student’s credit.
Credit cards and college students may seem like a good idea. It can be devastating for those that don’t know how to manage those responsibilities. With a little credit card education, college students can graduate with minimal debt and excellent credit.