If you’re heading to college soon, or have a child that is, you might be weighing up whether a credit card would be beneficial. There’s a huge selection of products available and there are various pros and cons to lending in this way. But if handled responsibly that little piece of plastic could be a really useful thing to have to hand.
Some of the pros
Here are some of the reasons why a credit card application might be worth looking at if you’re a soon-to-be college student or one of their parents:
• One plus point is those in possession of credit cards need to take responsibility for their finances in order to keep up with repayments. This could be a valuable lesson about the importance of looking after money, which might serve them well in later life.
• For parents, providing their child with a credit card can reassure them they’ll have a little money in reserve in case of emergencies. College can be an expensive business when rent and other living costs are factored in, so a credit card might be the perfect way to make sure they never go without important supplies to aid their study.
• If you’re a parent and want a little extra control on what is available to spend then a pre-paid credit card might be worth getting. These can be loaded with a certain amount, making them an ideal option if you’re worried about overspending. In certain cases these can even help to build a credit score, so shop around to find the best deal.
There is another side to the argument and it’s worth thinking about the following points before you apply for a credit card.
• With access to a large amount of credit, the temptation for some might be to go on a spending spree. Therefore, it’s important to be educated about the potential problems this could cause for people who find themselves unable to pay it back.
• Students are sometimes in a precarious financial situation when they finish college, so it’s worth weighing up whether the additional debt is worth it. But providing this doesn’t leave them making repayments way after their graduation, it could well be worth doing. Try to cover as much of the outstanding balance as possible each month to avoid getting stung by interest.
Clearly some students might benefit from a credit card but others might be wise to think twice about them. What are your experiences of using them as a student?