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Credit Cards for College Students

This is very important. We are counseled to stay out of debt; however, I think that many college students don't realize how important a credit card is.

Here are three solid reasons why every college student should get a credit card.

1. You need to start building your own personal credit. I worked in the mortgage industry for a few years. When the day comes that you are ready to buy a house or condo, you will need at least three trade-lines in good standing. That means you will need to have had three lines of credit against your name (probably for about two years). Get a credit card as one of them.

2. Credit cards give their users rewards. Often people don't realize that every time you buy something with a credit card, there is a transaction fee that is charged to the seller by the credit card company. If you get a card with rewards, some of the money is shared with you. It may not be a large amount; however, a free $40 dollar check at the end of the year is still nice.

3. Credit cards are safer than debt cards. If you get ripped off by someone, you can often get your money back if you made the purchase with a credit card. You are protected better this way.

Note: Please be wise; don't spend more than you normally would. Pay your credit card down regularly so that you are not accruing monthly interest.

Also, credit cards for college students often have low limits (around $500). Don’t be disappointed with this. Consider it self protection.

Last, if you think that you are someone that is going to let things get out of hand, it would be better not to get a card.

Good Luck

Loan Sharks

My experience with the credit card industry has been simple: they're out to bleed you dry. Companies will make offers and sometimes change the terms, but more often, will just wait for you to make the smallest mistake before jacking you over. For example, they'll give you a reasonable 8% interest rate, and then your payment, be it your own fault or not, arrives a day late. Whoops, so much for 8%, now that interest rate has been bumped up to 29.99% plus there's a $40 late fee.

I now use one credit card-- the Costco American Express, and pay it off in full each month. Even they have used some pretty questionable tactics. One thing is for sure: the terms are never what you think they are.

buyer beware

Though I agree consumer credit is needed, so much wisdom is needed, that very very few practice these days.

When I got back from my mission in 2004 I racked up a ton of Credit card debt (more than most BYU students have in student loan debt). I did it very quickly and in an extremely unwise manner. It bit me back and almost pushed me to go bankrupt.

I made the 2nd worst mistake by being suckered by the "Credit Counseling" services that various companies offer. Wow...those people are crooks, and such a tactic is only 2nd to going bankrupt. Without going into too much detail, I highly advise anyone considering this path to stay clear and re-think your options.

I however learned my mistake. I Saw how NOT following the prophets council can get you in deep crap, and I quickly repented and never looked back.

I turned my ways around, learned how to be industrious, and made a few successful business deals that took me completely out of debt by the start of this year. I learned my lesson, and can't over emphasize how important it is to be wise with credit cards.

My credit is now excellent and I've been pre-approved for a house to purchase in the Dallas area.

My advise to those with no credit cards: Get one, and use it a few times. But PAY IT OFF! Do NOT carry a balance. Don't rationalize anything.


When you have proven wise with one credit card, and a sufficient time has passed, then go ahead and get a second one. But be wise.

ok...enough of the soap box.

Credit Cards - Only As Good As The Holder

Traits of someone who can handle a card:

Good with money.
Hates debt.
Understands the statement, "interest never sleeps".
Has had several jobs.
Understands hard work.
Has goals.
Understands the difference between 'needs' and 'wants'.

Traits of someone who should NOT get a credit card:

Easy to spend
Follows crowds
Has always gotten their money from mommy and daddy.
Someone who is NOT stalwart in what they buy.
Someone highly influenced by trends
Anyone who says, "It will be okay just this time"
Doesn't understand compound interest and NET worth

I am a student and I have a credit card. I have never been in debt, except for a short time to a car loan.

I can see why owning a credit card can be good.

A credit card is only as wise or foolish as it's user.

i couldn't agree more

thats so true the traits you listed of those who can and can't handle credit cards.

I would easily consider myself as one who used to NOT be able to handle it responsibly. I took a hit for it, and learned my lesson. I hope I can now consider myself one who uses them wisely (I have no balance on any credit cards, use them only when extremely needed, and then pay then pay them off within 2 weeks).

Yet I look around me and see my close friends and family abusing them. Besides putting them in financial trouble, I can sense the strain it is putting on their marriage. Each one with large amounts of credit card debt (thats subjective of course), seem to be at odds a bit with their spouse.

I would also make another observation. Though only an observation, and something with no real data, but I tend to see the husband/fathers as the ones being the are most irresponsible. Not to take the wife out of the picture, but I think in the LDS society in which we live where the husband is usually the primary and sole bread winner, they also tend to be the procrastinator and say, "I'll pay for it later."

It honestly though can only go sooo far. Many of the people I know in this situation have fully tapped their available credit. Not a bank will loan them a dime and the find themselves in quite a bind. Few options remain for them.

The first, but last one they'll choose is to simply stop spending, budget properly, and ride it out for the next few years while paying off their debt.

The second option, which some have taken, is to tap mommy and daddy. This proves unwise for all parties; sadly some parents can't seem to say no, and allow their own credit, or savings to be tapped and dwindle.

The 3rd option, and the worst option, choose to file for bankruptcy. There are few reasons to ever do this, and luckily it has become harder.

A necessary evil

Credit cards are a funny thing, honestly, we can't live with them and we can't live without them.

If we didn't have credit cards there would be many things we could not enjoy like rental cars and hotel rooms. We would also be required to have cash on hand. We would build no credit, and so getting homes loans and cars would be very difficult.

Living in the United States, in the twenty-first century, it has become necessary to have a credit card. As bad as credit cards are, I agree with Allende. Even as poor college students we need to get and use credit cards.

Why would anyone think that?

Well what about mortgages, business loans, car loans, and banks? ---These are all great tools people.

Obviously, everyone knows not to get a credit card if you can't control yourself and your spending. Otherwise, they are great and rather useful.

Agree wholeheartedly

It boils down to personal responsibility. It's not as though credit card companies are holding a gun to people's heads and mandating they user the cards.
For people who can manage debt and finances responsibly, they're a boon. I know they make conducting business in my life significantly simpler.
For people who can't, well... it's their own fault. I'd rather the options be out there for the people who can do things responsibly.