I Got a Credit Card While in College and Here’s What I Learned

Too often I hear, “I should get a credit card so I can build my credit now.” This is exactly what prompted me to sign up for a student credit card. When you go to college you become less and less likely to rely on your parents or family for anything. While in school, you are in your own world and going outside of it to ask for help can be difficult. Because of the independence, it can almost feel wrong asking for help. Things will come up at school or you want to go out to eat (to get away from the school dining hall). The dilemma is you get paid bi-weekly and often times you find yourself skipping out on plans because you don’t have the money. A credit card can definitely help with that dilemma. Spending money you don’t have sounds very convenient and enticing. Being able to spend money without actually having it is what gets people interested.

Having a credit card is a huge responsibility. I am all for building up your credit but you need to make sure you have the money to eventually pay it back. First things first, if you don’t have a job at school I would not recommend getting a card. You eventually have to pay back the money on the card, and the payments are typically monthly.  So you can buy some food or maybe a cute new outfit. However, when that monthly bill comes up, you have to have some sort of money to give back to the company. The monthly payments will depend on how much you are buying or how often and what you pay back. If you start to not pay the monthly bill statements, you will be charged with interest fees. This basically means that you will be paying more than you actually spent. For example, If you spend 100 dollars in a month your first bill due may ask you to pay 15 dollars of that 100 dollars. If you do not pay that 15 dollars when it is due, the bank/company will charge more interest on the 100 dollars. So make sure you keep track of when payments are due.

Having a credit card while in school can be an added stress. As a student, you already have classes, club meetings, and work. Paying off your bill will become another important responsibility. If you trust yourself to handle that, then I would say go ahead and get one. However, it is important to realize that it becomes apart of your life responsibilities and budgeting becomes extremely essential. If you get paid 150 every two weeks using 100 dollars of credit is probably not the best idea. Credit cards should be used for emergencies or when you know you will be able to pay it back, especially while in school.

There are certain companies like Discover or Capital One that hand out credit cards for students. Usually, the credit line is not as big and the interest rates are lower than a normal card. It is very easy to sign up, and usually, the approval for the card is pretty quick.

If you’re thinking about getting a card I would not say no. Although, be mindful of what you are doing, spending and what you can give. #CheersToAdulthood