With all the marketing ploys, gimmicks, and enticements sent to students from credit card companies, making the right choice can become confusing. Yet, if you are a student embarking upon your first experience with credit, making the right choice is imperative. Following, are a few suggestions that should help make your selection easier.
Closely scrutinize the initial APR of the card. This is generally a promotional rate designed to entice you to go with this company. The card with the longest lasting promotional rate is one to strongly consider. Look for a zero percent interest rate, some cards offer this promotion for the introductory six months. This is beneficial to your goal to eliminate costs from carrying balances forward.
Now, you want to check where the rate climbs after the opening rate. This rate will always reflect an increase. In the case of student offers this rate can rise dramatically. You will want s card that raises this rate the least.
Forget all about free gifts and bonuses. Remember the old saying that “nothing in life is free?” This was never truer than with credit card companies. You pay for your rewards, gifts, or bonuses, with fees, interest, and membership rates. Discount these offers entirely when choosing your credit card.
Consider the reputation of the credit card company. If the offer is from a well known, nationally recognize firm, your credit will establish itself more rapidly. Offers from smaller banks are not as good in the duration.
If there is a cash back offer or credit for buying certain offers, this could be a positive point in your evaluation of that card.
Before you apply for a credit card, check your credit report. You can get a free copy of your credit report once annually. Otherwise, you will have to pay for the information. Have someone who knows about credit reports review it with you. If you’re unfamiliar with them, you might not gain much insight. Most importantly check your FICO score. This number is essential in determining your acceptance and your credit limit.
Be smart about your credit card. You can make mistakes with this credit that will hound you for years to come, or you can create a leg up for yourself in life. It all depends on how seriously you take the responsibility of your student credit card.
Remember that it is a tool for establishing a good credit report. It does not represent free money since you will have to pay the bill every month anyway.