Credit cards have been shunned with a negative stigma and fear by college students. With student loans hanging over their head, most college students completely reject the idea of opening up credit cards in fear of adding to their already-existing debt.
Contrary to popular belief, credit cards are absolutely necessary for most college students.
It is nearly impossible for students to obtain off-campus housing without established credit.
Despite some housing complexes that accept co-signers with a parent’s credit card on the lease, not all areas or renters follow this, emphasizing the need for students to open and use their own credit cards.
In addition to housing, many employers also run credit checks during the hiring process, making credit cards imperative for job opportunities.
Building credit is also important when making large life purchases such as buying a car, as it takes upwards of a year to establish credit history. Because of this, students need to start establishing credit now in preparation for employment and housing.
A student credit card is a great alternative for students to begin establishing credit. Some cards offer “higher acceptance rates and may even include promotional offers and rewards,” according to Credit Karma’s website.
With low interest rates as well as low credit limits, student credit cards provide security to students against maxing out their cards as well as quickly falling into debt.
Student credit cards are not only crucial for future life purchases and changes, they also give students an opportunity to establish both a sense of independence and responsibility. With many college students trying to branch out into adulthood, a credit card may be a start to that journey.
That being said, credit cards do in fact come with a risk, especially within the United States, where the average American household has $15,611 in credit card debt, according to NerdWallet.com.
With credit card debt in America being so prevalent, the risk is definitely present. Regardless, it all breaks down to the use of the card and the responsibility of the card holder.
Student credit cards are not a foolproof way to ward off debt and establish credit. It is imperative to be a responsible credit card user. Pay your bills on time, do not max out your card and attempt to pay off your card’s balance completely by the end of each month.
Opening a credit card is a huge responsibility that leads to important life changes and decisions. With the significant amount of time to establish credit, students need to start thinking about their credit card options now. The myth about credit cards coming with a seemingly guaranteed debt needs to be eliminated. Credit cards benefits, when used correctly, outweigh their risks. Students need to start establishing credit now to help guarantee a successful and independent future.