Don’t Get Left Behind: Why Building Credit in College is Crucial For Student

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As a college student, your financial situation may not be at
the forefront of your mind. You may be focusing on studying, socializing, and
making memories. However, building credit in college is crucial to set yourself
up for a successful financial future. In this article, we will discuss why
building credit in college is important and how to go about doing so.

What is credit, and why is it important for college student?

Credit is a measure of your ability to repay debts. It is a
numerical representation of your financial history and current situation. A
credit score is a three-digit number that ranges from 300 to 850, with higher
scores indicating better creditworthiness. Credit scores are used by lenders to
evaluate the risk of lending you money.

Good credit is important for several reasons. Firstly, it
can help you get approved for student loans, credit cards, and other financial products
with favorable terms and interest rates. A good credit score can save you
thousands of dollars in interest over the life of a loan. Additionally, good
credit can help you qualify for rental applications, cell phone plans, and even
job applications.

What are the benefits of building credit in college?

Building credit in college can have several benefits that
extend beyond your college years. Some of the benefits of building credit in
college include:

1. Increased chances of loan approval

Building credit in college can significantly increase your
chances of loan approval in the future. Whether you plan on getting a car loan
or a mortgage, lenders will evaluate your credit score to determine your
creditworthiness. A good credit score shows that you are responsible with your
finances and can make payments on time. It is much easier to secure a loan with
a good credit score than without one.

2. Lower interest rates

In addition to increasing your chances of loan approval,
building credit can also result in lower interest rates. Lenders often offer
lower interest rates to borrowers with good credit scores. This means that you
will save money in the long run by paying less interest on your loans.

3. Easier rental approvals

Many landlords and property management companies require a
credit check before approving a rental application. If you have a good credit
score, you are more likely to be approved for a rental, and may even be able to
negotiate a lower security deposit.

4. Building credit history

Building credit in college allows you to establish a credit
history at a young age. A credit history shows lenders how long you have been
using credit and how responsible you have been with payments. Starting early
gives you a head start on building a positive credit history, which can be
beneficial in the long run.

5. Better credit limit

Having a good credit score means you may be eligible for a
higher credit limit. This can be useful for emergencies or unexpected expenses.
Additionally, it can also improve your credit utilization rate, which is the
ratio of your credit card balance to your credit limit. A lower utilization
rate can improve your credit score.

6. Financial independence

Building credit in college can also help you achieve
financial independence. A good credit score can open up many opportunities for
you, such as being approved for renting an apartment or car loan without the need for a
cosigner. This can be especially beneficial if you are looking to move out of
your parent’s house and live on your own.

7. Responsible financial habits

Finally, building credit in college can help you develop
responsible financial habits. It teaches you to be accountable for your
finances, make payments on time, and manage your debt. These habits can be
beneficial in the long run and can help you avoid financial pitfalls.

How to build credit in college?

Building credit in college can seem daunting, especially if
you have no credit history. However, there are several ways to establish credit
and build a strong credit score.

1. Get a Credit Card

One of the most effective ways to build credit is by using a
credit card responsibly. If you don’t already have a credit card, you can
consider applying for a student credit card. These cards are designed for
college students and have lower credit limits and fees. However, it’s important
to use your credit card responsibly by making timely payments and keeping your
balances low. High balances and missed payments can hurt your credit score.
2. Pay Your Bill On Time
Paying your bills on time is one of the most critical
factors in building good credit. Late payments can have a negative impact on
your credit history and reduce your credit score. Set reminders or automatic
payments to ensure that you never miss a payment.
3. Keep Your Balances Low
Using your credit card excessively can hurt your credit
score, even if you make timely payments. Your credit utilization ratio is the
amount of credit you are using compared to your credit limit. Keeping your
balances low is a good way to improve your credit utilization ratio and, in
turn, your credit score.

4. Don’t Apply for Too Much Credit

Every time you apply for credit, such as a loan or credit
card, the lender will run a credit inquiry on you. Too many credit inquiries in
a short time can hurt your credit score. So, be mindful of how many credit
applications you submit.

5. Monitor Your Credit Report

Your credit report is a detailed summary of your credit
history, and it is essential to monitor it regularly. You can get a free credit
report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year. Review your
credit report for errors and disputes any inaccuracies.

6. Become an Authorized User

If you’re not eligible for a credit card, you can become an
authorized user on someone else’s credit card. An authorized user is allowed to
use the credit card, but the primary account holder is responsible for making
payments. This can be a good way to establish a credit history, but it’s
crucial to use the credit card responsibly and ensure that the primary account
holder makes timely payments.

7. Consider a Secured Credit Card

A secured credit card is a type of credit card that requires
a security deposit, usually equal to your credit limit. It’s a good option for
those who don’t qualify for a regular credit card or those who want to build
their credit history. Using a secured credit card responsibly can help you
improve your credit score and eventually qualify for an unsecured credit card. c.
Take out a student loan

Taking out a student loan can also help you establish
credit. However, it’s important to remember that student loans are a type of
debt, and you’ll need to repay them with interest. Make sure you only borrow
what you need and that you have a plan to repay the loan after graduation.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Why is building credit in college important for students?
A: Building credit in college is important because it can have a significant impact on a student’s financial future. Credit history and credit score are critical factors in determining an individual’s ability to obtain loans, credit cards, and even apartments or jobs.

Q: When is the best time to start building credit as a college student?
A: The earlier, the better! As soon as a student is eligible for credit (usually at 18 years old), they should start building their credit history. This means applying for a credit card or becoming an authorized user on a parent’s credit card and using it responsibly.

Q: How can a college student build credit?
A: A college student can build credit by opening a credit card account, making small purchases, and paying the balance in full each month. They can also become an authorized user on a parent’s credit card or take out a small loan and make timely payments.

Q: Is it possible to build credit without a credit card?
A: Yes, it is possible to build credit without a credit card. One way is to become an authorized user on a parent’s credit card and make small purchases that are paid off on time. Another way is to take out a small loan and make timely payments.

Q: What are some common mistakes to avoid when building credit as a college student?
A: Common mistakes to avoid include maxing out credit cards, missing payments, and applying for too many credit cards at once. It’s also important to keep an eye on credit utilization (the amount of credit used compared to the credit limit) and keep it below 30%.

Q: How can building credit in college benefit students in the long run?
A: Building credit in college can benefit students in the long run by making it easier to obtain loans, credit cards, and other forms of credit. It can also lead to lower interest rates and better loan terms. Additionally, having good credit can make it easier to rent an apartment or obtain a job in certain industries.

Q: Is it ever too late to start building credit as a college student?
A: It’s never too late to start building credit! While it’s best to start as early as possible, it’s never too late to begin. Building credit takes time, so it’s important to be patient and consistent in making on-time payments and keeping credit utilization low.

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