According to a 2009 survey by Sallie Mae, an estimated 84% of college students carry credit cards. Credit cards can be great for building a first line of credit, as well as for certain purchases that you may not want to pay all at one time. However, it is important to use credit cards responsibly. 82% of students carry a balance and incur finance charges on their card each month.
Paying Your Balance on Time
It is important to pay your credit card balance on time each month, and pay the required minimum (if not more). Not paying your credit card causes you to default on your payments, which will go on your credit report, and will affect your credit score. Your credit report keeps a history of all of your lines of credit. It is important to keep this in mind, because future lenders and even employers will want to access your credit report.
Credit card interest rates vary. Student cards are generally going to have a higher interest rate until more credit is established (i.e. your creditworthiness). If you keep a running balance on your credit card month to month, you are going to pay interest. Make it a habit of not charging more on your credit card than you can afford to pay off at the end of the month. That way, you don’t end up spending more than you originally had planned for.