Credit Cards for College Students

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Credit Cards for College Students

Credit Cards for College Students

When you start searching for your first credit card, all of the available options can be overwhelming. With so many different cards out there, it can seem difficult to know how to choose the right credit card for your needs. When you’re first starting out with using credit, it’s important to make your decisions wisely so you can set yourself up for successful credit use right from the start. You want to start building good credit now so you’re ready for future credit needs, like buying a car or a house. Here are a few things to consider before applying for your first credit card.

Why You Want the Card

Your first step in choosing the right credit card for you is determining why you want the card to begin with. Some of the most common reasons for getting a credit card are to build credit, to fund a large purchase, or to earn rewards. Let’s take a closer look at each of those reasons.

  • Building Credit – Credit cards are a great tool to help you build credit when you’re just starting out on your financial journey. Having good credit will make it easier to be approved for loans like auto and mortgage when the time comes, and make it easier to qualify for better terms. Our MyMoney MyWay Visa® credit card is designed especially for young adults seeking to establish and build credit with their first credit card.
  • Making a Large Purchase – Credit cards are also useful in helping you fund a large purchase that you wouldn’t be able to make as easily otherwise. If you’re getting the card to help you fund a large purchase, it’s important that you’re able to get a high enough credit limit to cover the purchase. It’s also important to look at the interest rate. If you don’t have a plan in place to quickly pay back your big purchase, a high interest rate will have you paying a great deal in interest charges that could otherwise be avoided.
  • Earning Rewards – One of the other big benefits of credit cards is their different rewards programs. However, not all credit cards come with rewards, so if the perks are important to you, you’ll want to choose a card with a rewards program, and with rewards that suit you. Some cards offer cash back, airline points, travel perks, discount programs, and gift cards. Some programs even let you pick and choose which rewards you redeem, so you can maximize the benefits. Our Visa® Platinum Rewards credit card comes with a wide range of benefits, including the Scorecard® Rewards Program that lets you select which rewards work for you.

Qualities to Look for

Not all credit cards are created equal. If you just apply for the first credit card you get an offer for, you may come to regret it once you realize you’re stuck with less than ideal terms. It’s important to do a little bit of research and compare a few different cards before settling on the one that will work best for you. Here’s what you should look for in your first credit card.

  • Low Interest Rate – You will have to pay interest fees on any charges you carry over month to month, so if you plan on using the card to make a large purchase and carrying a balance for a few months, you don’t want to get saddled with a sky-high interest rate. Instead, shop around and try to find a card with a low interest rate that will also meet your other needs.
  • No Annual Fee – Some credit cards require you to pay a fee each year for using the card. Thankfully with so many credit cards available, you should have plenty of options to choose from that don’t have an annual fee. All of our Robins Financial credit cards have no annual fee.
  • Rewards – Determine if rewards are important to you, and if so, which rewards you’re most likely to take advantage of. That way, you can find a credit card with a rewards program that works for you. Our Visa® Platinum Rewards credit card with Scorecard® Rewards Program offers a variety of options so you can make the most of your rewards.

Credit Card Best Practices

Once you’ve determined your reason for getting the card and decided which qualities are most important to you, it’s important to consider how you plan to use the card. You want to be mindful of how you use your credit card so you can be sure you’re helping to build your credit, not ruin it. Here are some tips on how you can make sure you’re using your credit card wisely.

  • Pay Your Bill On Time – The biggest factor affecting your credit score is your payment history. You can maintain a positive payment history by never missing your payment due dates. Always paying your credit card bill on time not only helps you avoid late fees, it also helps you keep your credit in good standing. Set up automatic payments from your checking account to your credit card to ensure you never miss a payment.
  • Pay In Full – Paying your entire credit card balance in full allows you to avoid paying interest fees. If you don’t carry a balance, there won’t be anything to charge interest. Unless you are using the card to help you fund a big purchase, only charge small amounts that you can easily pay back at the end of each billing cycle.
  • Pay More Than the Minimum – If you can’t pay your balance in full right away, like if you’ve used your credit card for a big purchase, you can – and should – pay more than the minimum amount due. The minimum payment amount listed on your statement typically only covers the previous month’s interest and fees (if any), and only a small portion of your underlying balance. When you only pay the minimum, you don’t wind up making much of a dent in your actual debt, you’re mostly just treading water. Paying less now only means paying more later. When you can’t pay in full, pay as much over the minimum as you are able to so you keep making steady progress on paying down your debt and eventually wipe out the balance.

Start building your credit today! We are committed to helping our members build good credit and keep it there. We make sure our credit cards work for you, which is why we offer the lowest rates possible, low to no fees, great perks through the Scorecard® Rewards Program, and convenient payment options to make sure you never miss a payment. Plus, eligible members can view their FICO® Score for free within Digital Banking so you can always stay on top of your score. View our rates and credit card agreement for more information, or apply online now or over the phone.

At Robins Financial Credit Union, our mission is to enhance the financial well-being of our members and community. We honor this commitment by providing educational content to help you make the most of your finances. Read our other blog articles to help you gain the financial knowledge you need to succeed.

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