Do Students Need a Credit Card?
The many uses of credit cards come from the priorities of the user. However, in spite of their advantages, credit cards must be used with an air of caution and responsibility. In the case of students, do they need credit cards? Again, it depends.
Regardless of your situation as a student, it is vitally important that you begin to build up your credit so that when the time comes when you will inevitably need to take out a loan, be it for furthering your education or leasing a car, your credit will be good enough to warrant both. This build up can be achieved by using your credit cards on small items and then subsequently paying off the balance as quickly as possible.
Do not, however, fall into the trap of believing that credit cap is a spending maximum – it is not. It is simply the maximum amount of money you can charge to your account. It must all be paid back in full and in a timely fashion. Too many students fall into this trap, leading them down the road of financial instability. Under no circumstances should you use your credit card for items that you cannot afford.
Your circumstances better determine how much you should use a credit card. If you and your family are not in the best financial situation imaginable (do not fret, you are not alone in this time in the country), a credit card might be an okay idea. Again, try your hardest not to pay for things with money you simply do not have. Choose leasing options and buy within your means. If you manage to get through college with some debt, it is not abnormal. What matters is how quickly that debt gets paid off – and how it does.
If your circumstances are a little better financially, a credit card is still needed in order to improve your credit as described above.
If used responsibly and within your means, a credit card can be a safe way for students to build their credit. However, it should not be used as a one-way ticket to limitless spending.
Note: The Credit CARD Act places additional restrictions on adults under age 21 that make it harder to qualify for a credit card account. Unless the applicant can prove they earn enough income to repay debt incurred on the account, they must have a cosigner to guarantee the account.