As a student, it can be very difficult to maintain a healthy cash flow, and often students need a little flexibility and assistance when it comes to finances, whether it is for books, entertainment, or just general purchases such as travel costs or groceries. This is particularly true for students that are living away from home, who often aren’t able to get financial support as readily as those living at home with parents and who also have the added cost of bills and rent to deal with.
There are all sorts of financial products available these days, from car finance and debt consolidation loans through to personal loans and credit cards. A student credit card can really help you out as a student, providing you with a financial lifeline when cash flow becomes a problem. However, as a student it is important that you use the credit card responsibly and you make repayments on time and for at least the minimum amount requested otherwise you could start your life after leaving college or university with a bad credit rating, which could cause real problems when it comes to taking out finance in the future for things like a car or a property.
There are a number of benefits for students that take out a credit card whilst still at college or university, and some of these include:
- Being able to enjoy credit to help out in times of financial need for items such as books, groceries, travel etc.
- Being able to use your card to shop online or by phone, as well as being able to pay for purchases without having to carry around cash or a checkbook
- Being able to build a credit rating ready for when you leave college and may want to take out finance for purchases such as a car or a property – this will make it far easier to get a good deal on finance when you leave college
- Being able to build up a financial relationship with a bank, which will make things easier when you start work and need banking services and products such as accounts, savings, loans, mortgages, and other financial products and services
- Being able to spread repayments on larger purchases rather than to leave yourself struggling financially
There are also some things to bear in mind when using a student credit card:
- Always try and repay the balance on the card in full at the end of each month, as this will minimize the risk of spiraling debt and will help you to build a good credit rating for the future. It will also enable you to enjoy the benefits of a credit card without being charged interest
- Avoid missing repayments or paying less than the minimum payment, as you will otherwise end up with a tarnished credit history and rating before you have even left college, which could make it very difficult to get other forms of finance in the future
- Look around for the right card, and compare factors such as interest rate, repayment periods, penalties and charges, and any benefits that come with the card such as discounts, rewards, etc.
This will help to ensure you get the most from your credit card and avoid unmanageable debt levels.