Many college students are adding credit card debt on top of their staggering college loans. Our Certified Financial Planner Denisa Tova has a few tips to help our college students make smart choices with credit cards.
Don’t get one unless you can afford it. People under the age of 21 either have to get a co-signer or earn enough income to afford the payments. Some students were able get credit cards by reporting their student loans as income. That’s dangerous. It’s another debt and you are adding more debt to it.
Read it before you sign it. You’ve got to get in a habit of reading the fine print. Credit card companies are counting on college students not reading anything, and just signing up for a quick access to cash. In the fine print, you will find the requirements for the introductory interest rate, how long it will last, how different the rate is if you want to pull out cash against your card, transfer balance.
Don’t fall for the first offer you get. Shop around for a card with the best terms. Don’t automatically go for the cards that offer rewards. You may end up charging more than you should on your card just to earn the rewards.
Only get what you need. Too much credit line, too soon can get you in trouble. Don’t accept credit line increase, just because it is offered.
Never ever co-sign for a friend - unless you are independently wealthy and don’t mind picking up his Spring break vacation tab.
Pay off your balances in full. If you don’t, you will be stuck with a lifetime battle of min payments which will pile on top of other debt.