If you’re a college student, you know how expensive books, movies and tuition can be. And if you only work during the summer break, you may be looking for a way to stretch your funds through the cold winter months. Fortunately, a student credit card can help. Find one with low interest and good terms, and you can charge during the lean times and then pay it off when you’re making money on your summer job.
To get a student credit card, follow these guidelines:
1. Find some cards for comparison.
It’s easier than you think. Credit card companies often set up tables and booths at college fairs. You may even find fliers or applications around campus. And you can always find a student credit card with an online search. Be sure that the cards you’re considering are specifically student cards. Credit cards aimed at students tend to have more lenient credit score and credit history criteria, and they also tend to have lower interest rates.
2. Pick the one with the best terms.
Not all credit cards are created equal! Since your student credit card is probably your first, educate yourself a bit about the terms and jargon you’ll encounter. Choose one with a low interest rate, since that’s the “extra” amount your credit card will tack onto your balance each month. Look for one with a longer grace period, too, which is the amount of time you have to make a payment before interest begins accruing. Other things you should look for is a card with no annual fee and a low late payment fee.
Simply fill out the application–either on paper, online or on the phone–and answer the questions on the form. You’ll need to reveal all the basics, like your name, current address and phone number. You’ll also need to provide them with a “permanent” address and phone number. The application will include lines for information about your school, your school’s address, your enrollment status and your year of graduation. It’s possible they’ll ask about your bank accounts and employment.
If you’re currently employed or have significant savings in the bank, chances are your line of credit–the maximum balance you can hold on your card–will be higher. But even if you only have a summer job, you should still be able to qualify for $500 – $1,000 in credit.