12 On Your Side: Credit cards for college students

By: Elizabeth Owens Email
By: Elizabeth Owens Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Monday, July 16, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Sarah Bryant already has a fair share of credit card debt.

"It''s a lot. It's not just $10,000, it's $50,000, and probably $60,000 by the time I'm done," the Augusta State student said.

About a third of college students use credit cards. However, that number is down from a few years ago when the Credit Card Act went into effect, making it harder for those under the age of 21 to get their hands on plastic.

Still, Consumer Credit Counseling Service says many students struggle with credit card debt.

"I know a lot of college students will end up using credit cards pay for regular household expenses things that should be in their budget like groceries and gas," said Melissa Whittaker of CCCS.

Whittaker doesn't recommend that all college students get a credit card, but, if you must, then be smart about it.

"Definitely look out for things like interest rate and whether there is an annual fee," she said.

You also want to pay attention late fees, some are one-time fees and others increase your interest rate if you're late. Also, don't get sucked into an introductory rate.

What happens when that time expires? If you plan to study abroad, then ask about usage outside of the U.S. Some companies actually charge you to use it out of the country.

Three highly ranked credit cards for students include:

  • Discover Student More
  • Wells Fargo Cash Back College Card
  • Discover Open Road Card for Students

Just remember you do have to to qualify and each time you apply for a card, it does bring down your credit score.

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