College students can obtain credit cards and build a credit history in two ways: 1) Have a parent add you to their card as an authorized user or 2) applying for student credit cards. Many students like the freedom of their own card. Years ago, college students under ager 21 did not require a parent’s signature or proof of sufficient income to apply for credit cards.
The Credit Card ACT of 2009 changed the rules and made it more difficult for students to obtain credit. This was all part of the move to protect college students against predatory credit cards practices and their own irresponsibility. A casualty of the Act has been the reduction in the number of attractive student credit card offers with decent reward programs.
Nonetheless, the following three college student credit cards can give students a start on finding cards that meet their objectives:
Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Card for College Students
One of the most popular credit cards for college students is the Citi® Dividend Platinum Select® Card for College Students, which offers a 0% introductory APR on purchase for the first seven months. The card does not have an annual fee. Applicants do not need a co-signer but must have good credit for approval.
This card offers strong cash back potential. Students can earn 5% cash back on utility bills, drugstores, supermarkets and gas stations for the first six months and 1% afterwards. All other purchases can earn 1% cash back. After the introductory rate expires, the APR ranges from 13.99% to 21.99% on unpaid balances.
Discover® Student More Card
This card offers students a $20 Cashback Bonus when you make your first purchase within 3 months of approval. The Discover Student More Card has an introductory rate of 0% for the first six months. College students can earn a 5% Cashback Bonus on categories that rotate periodically. The standard cash back percentage is 0.25% on the first $3,000 in annual purchases. Cardholders can earn 1% cash back on subsequent purchases and do not have to pay an annual fee. Applicants require a fair credit score to qualify for this card.
Citi Forward® Card for College Students
The Citi Forward® Card for College Students does not charge annual fees and rewards cardholders for good behavior. The issuer offer students a 2% reduction on the card for students who make transactions, maintain the balance under the allowed credit limit and pay the bill on time for three consecutive months.
In addition, students can receive a 0% introductory APR on transactions for the first seven months. Obtain a 1,000 points bonus upon signing up for the paperless statement option within the fist three months after opening the account. For students who keep the balance under the credit limit and pay on time each month, they receive 100 Thank-You- Points.
Tips on Using Your Credit Card
Once you receive the credit card, use it wisely and pay off the balance each month — on time. Do not go over the credit limit and avoid cash advances. You get hit with high fees and interest charges for exceeding your limit, paying late, using cash advances and carrying balances month-to-month.
If you stay on top of your responsibilities, after a few years, you will have a good credit history and credit score.