With your student going off to college and living away from home, of course you are concerned. It is going to be expensive, you already know that, but how to make sure that your student is able to get things taken care of financially without them having to call home multiple times per week to ask for more money. In a lot of different ways, it makes sense to get a college student credit card for your student, which can make things a lot easier on you.
Of course you want to be very careful with it. Depending on your child, you may want to get a card that does not permit cash advance privileges. The temptation for the new college student who is now all of a sudden living away from home is that this now represents “free money”, and I am sure you do not even want to think about what they might spend money on.
But then again, college is a time for growing up and a time for education. There are many advantages of having a college student credit card, such as:
* Your child will learn the responsibilities of financial management. You may insist that they get a part time job to pay the costs that THEY incur which are not related to getting the college education.
* Your child will learn about interest, and how interest can accumulate at an alarming rate if the balance is not paid in full at the end of the month.
* If payments are made late, your child will learn the realities of the “late payment fee” which is assessed by many of the issuers of college student credit cards.
* Your child will become versed in the fine art of budgeting and planning ahead. For example, if there is only $200 of the credit limit left on the student credit card and your child has the option of paying for a kegger this weekend or paying for two textbooks that are required for class, the right or wrong decision can tell you how far along they are getting with the aspect of financial management and budgeting.
There are many card issuers who are very anxious to offer a credit card to college students. Often these come with a lower credit limit, maybe $500 and also since college students are typically viewed as a risk due to a typical lack of experience with financial obligations, the interest rate on the unpaid balance is going to be higher, perhaps MUCH higher than you might expect. But this all goes with the territory.
But if a student shows or learns responsibility with a college student credit card, that will teach the student the benefits of having one and keeping it fiscally sound. The student is rewarded with a good credit score at the credit bureaus, so they are somewhat established already in that area by the time they graduate. And the card issuers are well aware that with that good experience, that college student will very likely be their credit card customer for life.