School has started for some of us [3 more weeks of Summer for the students on the quarter system!] and college students are notorious for either facing huge amounts of debt or having poor financial planning.
Credit cards are just as flagrant for adding on to debt. Paying for things has never been so easy with a simple swipe of a card. But with interest rates and annual fees, it may take up to years to pay off credit card debt. Now put college students and credit cards together and what do you get? According to CNN, the class of 2013 had an average of $3000 in credit card debt. For this week’s Financial Tip Friday, here are 3 Credit Card Tips for college students [or even anyone].
#1 Use the right card
Some banks design accounts specifically for students that include perks such as cash-back deals and rewards. However, be aware of deals that do include perks: you may be paying for these perks with high annual fees and interest rates. Shop around for low fees and rates. Starting out with a low credit limit is one way to minimize usage of credit cards.
#2 Live within your means
Do not spend what you can’t pay off. It’s tempting to buy whatever you want with a credit card but not having the cash in hand for it means you will have to eventually pay for it later. Spending what you already have will make it easy to pay your bills off in full. Having a credit card should be a convenience, not a necessity.
#3 Pay the bills on time
Paying your entire bill on time every month lessens the amount of debt for students. This also ensures that fees or charges won’t rack up. Paying the minimum amount adds on to a student’s debt beyond graduation. Proper payment of your credit card bills allows you to build your own credit history. It’s not about having a credit card, it’s in how you use it.
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