College Connect: Getting your first credit card and how to manage it

Posted By Crystal Beasley

By Emma Diltz

Getting a credit card is a big push into adulthood for a lot of people, including students. Going into college, it’s a good idea to start thinking about getting a credit card. Without good credit, it’s hard to buy a house, pay off student loans or buy a car.

As a student, the best card I found is the Discover it for Students card. With this card, students don’t have to have any previous credit and there are no monthly fees. Discover also matches all the cash back bonuses earned at the end of the first year of having the card. As a student, it also gives you 5 percent cash back in categories like restaurants and gas stations where they are more likely to spend money.

A great aspect of the Discover it for Student card is it sets a monthly limit, starting at $1,500. Though that’s still quite a bit, it at least caps how much you’re able to spend, especially those with budgetary problems. As you prove yourself, your monthly cap increases.

The best way to not get yourself in debt is to pay it off as soon as you make a purchase with it. It takes about 24 hours for a transaction to go through, but the quicker and more reliably you pay it off, the better your credit score will be at the end of the month.

When deciding whether to use a credit card or not, I try to make my big purchases with it. This semester, I purchased two plane tickets, both with my Discover card. I knew I’d have to pay for them anyway, but the bigger the purchase, the higher your credit score will be if it’s paid off on time. By doing this, it shows credit card companies that you’re a reliable customer, and it’ll open more doors in the future for stronger credit cards.

Diltz is a junior studying journalism at the University of Missouri.

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