Managing Executive Editor
Finances are something that most people are uncomfortable with talking about, but it is something that affects everyone.
If you are still purchasing everyday items with a debit card, you need to stop now! Whether you are aware of it or not, there is a better way to pay: Credit cards.
Most people shutter at the phrase credit card, and for good reason. Credit cards carry a bad reputation with college-aged students and there are many horror stories online about college students going into thousands of dollars into debt with credit cards. But, I am here to tell you that if you are serious about your finances, you need to get a credit card.
First, most college students already have a form of credit with their student loans, so most students have their foot in the door with credit. Credit cards are probably the most beneficial financial aid available to college students, but most of the students that I talk to do not have a credit card, and that is a problem.
There are countless benefits to owning a credit card and probably the most important one is building your credit score. A credit score is a three digit number that banks or other financial institutions use to determine interest rates and your creditworthiness. When applying for a credit card, this is the number that companies will look at to determine if you are eligible for a credit card. Scores range from 300 to 850, the higher the better.
It is so important for students to build their credit history to improve their credit score early. Eventually, if you want to buy a house or get a car loan, lenders are going to look at your credit score. The problem with this is that if you do not have any credit history besides student loans, lenders could possibly reject you or give you a higher interest rate because you could be labeled as a risky borrower.
Financial protection is another benefit to owning a credit card. Unlike a debit card, where the money you spend when you make a transaction is taken directly out of your account, a credit card is not linked directly to your bank account, but rather to the lenders account. This is good for a variety of reasons but the most important one would be fraud protection. If someone were to take your debit card and go on a shopping spree and spend one thousand dollars, that is your hard earned money that they are spending. However, if they take your credit card and do the exact same thing, most of the time, you are not responsible for any of those charges! The difference here is that with a bank, most of the time they will only pay back some of the money that was taken out of your account but with a credit card, sometimes you can be protected from fraud of up to one million dollars.
Now, I am no financial advisor and this is in no way a financial advice. However, this is based on personal experience and this is important information for everyone to know. It is important that students take their finances seriously, and that begins with being financially responsible and opening a line of credit, but before you make a financial decision it is important to consult with a financial advisor or do meticulous research to make sure that you are getting the best credit card for your situation.
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