BACK

Student credit cards and young credit

6 tips for college students considering 1st credit card

Summary

Consumer advocates and some college officials offer advice to students who may not be familiar with the world of credit cards

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting date; however, some of our partner offers may have expired. Please review our list of best credit cards, or use our CardMatch™ tool to find cards matched to your needs.

Here are six tips offered by consumer advocates and college administrators for students who are solicited by companies offering student credit cards:

1. Walk on by.  Be leery of on-campus or near-campus solicitations by credit card issuers and their representatives. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and in return for that “free” slice of pizza or sandwich, you might find yourself applying for a credit card you do not need and is not right for you.

2. Opt out.  Some colleges give your name, address and e-mail address to credit card issuers as part of marketing deals. If you are overwhelmed by credit card marketing offers, contact the federally mandated credit bureau solicitation “opt-out” list at (888) 5-OPT-OUT, or (888) 567-8688. Placing your name on this list will reduce the number of prescreened credit card offers you receive, but it will not eliminate all offers.

3. Lobby your school. Ask your school not to share student names and other personal information with credit card companies. Ask your student government to support this position.

Credit card videos
For more on this topic, check out this video:
Credit card video: The basics

Credit card video: New rules for credit cards on campus

4. Pay up, part one. Pay off your balances in full and on time every month. That way, you’ll avoid interest charges and all sorts of other potential issues and problems. Paying just the monthly minimum payment amount could keep you in debt for years.

5. Pay up, part two. If you can’t pay the full balance, make the largest possible payment every month. Make your payments as early as possible (at least seven to 10 days before it’s due) to avoid late charges.

6. Other pesky issues. Watch for changing due dates — credit card companies sometimes change the date with little notice, nudging some people into late charges. Call your card company and ask for a lower interest rate — many companies would rather lower your rate than lose your business.

See related:Credit card issuers wear out welcome on campus

Editorial Disclaimer

The editorial content on this page is based solely on the objective assessment of our writers and is not driven by advertising dollars. It has not been provided or commissioned by the credit card issuers. However, we may receive compensation when you click on links to products from our partners.

What’s up next?

In Student credit cards and young credit

Why students pay for college with plastic, tips to avoid it

When money gets too tight for tuition, a growing group of students and their families break out the plastic.

See more stories
Credit Card Rate Report Updated: June 3rd, 2020
Business
13.91%
Airline
15.48%
Cash Back
16.06%
Reward
15.81%
Student
16.12%

Questions or comments?

Contact us

Editorial corrections policies

Learn more

Join the Discussion

We encourage an active and insightful conversation among our users. Please help us keep our community civil and respectful. For your safety, do not disclose confidential or personal information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers. Anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

The editorial content on CreditCards.com is not sponsored by any bank or credit card issuer. The journalists in the editorial department are separate from the company’s business operations. The comments posted below are not provided, reviewed or approved by any company mentioned in our editorial content. Additionally, any companies mentioned in the content do not assume responsibility to ensure that all posts and/or questions are answered.