5 Tips for Introducing Your College Student to Credit Cards

Tips to Introduce College Student to Credit Cards

It is really hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that I have a child who is now a junior in high school. In just two short years, she will be college bound! This will be a bittersweet time as this means my oldest child is growing up and there will be some adjustments on both the child’s and the parent’s end in the new found freedom that she will have living on her own.

While students are away from home, they are not only learning the classroom but they will be experiencing independence. While they are on their own, they will need a way to pay for their everyday expenses. The Discover it Chrome Card for Students is a perfect way for them to manage their expenses and still earn rewards.

Think about the following when evaluating student credit cards in order to make an informed choice:

  1. Students can still earn rewards with a credit card:Not all student credit cards provide rewards, so find one that does. In particular, think about what types of purchases students would be making most often.
    • For example, the Discover it chrome card rewards cardmembers with 2% Cashback Bonus on the first $1,000 in combined gas and restaurant purchases each quarter.  There is no sign-up required, so earning these rewards is completely automatic (one less thing to think about!). When they’re not buying gas or food at restaurants, they’ll earn unlimited 1% Cashback Bonus on all other purchases, and anywhere between 5% and 20% through the Discover Deals site located in the Account Center on Discover.com.
  2. Building a credit history begins on Day One: Students generally aren’t thinking about building credit, but as soon as their first credit card makes it into their wallet, they are building a credit history that employers, landlords and lenders will one day use to assess their creditworthiness. There are a limited number of ways to have access to this score, and Discover is one of those providers.
    • All Discover cardmembers, including students, receive their FICO credit score for free each month on their statement and when they log into Discover.com. As students are developing their credit, they can keep an eye on their score by reviewing their Discover statement each month.  Knowing their credit score can help them avoid surprises and continue to grow their credit smartly.
  3. Stay protected from fraudulent purchases: In today’s world, fraud can happen to anyone – but it doesn’t have to be damaging in the long-term. College students, like any adult, can misplace their card or have it stolen, and it’s important to be with a credit card company that doesn’t hold you responsible for this. Make sure you card covers you in the event that an unauthorized charge is made on your account.
    • Students are protected with Discover cards through its $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee, meaning that you aren’t responsible for unauthorized charges. Just call Discover if something looks suspicious.
  1. Fast, kind, helpful customer service is absolutely key: Your first credit card can be overwhelming, and sometimes parents aren’t readily available to answer a pressing question about the card. Make sure your student has a card that offers high-quality, day-and-night customer service agents to answer questions immediately.
    • That’s why Discover’s customer service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. And, real people in the U.S. are answering the phone – friendly customer service representatives are available to help your student understand their new credit card so they can spend more time on their studies. Cardmembers can also reach out through Twitter @Discover, or can chat with a specialist when they log into Discover.com.
  2. Bonus – take advantage of mobile apps on-the-go: Your credit card should offer a mobile app that you can access on-the-go with your smartphone or tablet; this can often be the quickest way to be aware of your account activity.
    • The Discover Mobile app lets cardmembers access their entire account wherever they are, and also provides access to earning Cashback Bonus, redeeming it, and contacting customer service.

How would you like to win a $25 Discover Gift Card? Check out the perks of the Discover it Chrome Card for Students and let us know how you plan to  introduce your college student to credit cards for a chance to win a $25 Discover Card.

Enter via the widget below.

Giveaway ends 8/31/2014 at 11:59 p.m. ET.

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My views are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Discover Products Inc. and its affiliates. This post was sponsored by Discover Card. Rest assured, this Post was written by me and was not edited by the sponsor. Read more on my Disclosure Policy.

37 responses to “5 Tips for Introducing Your College Student to Credit Cards”

  1. Our kids are still too young for a credit card, but we are establishing money smarts now for easier adjustments later on. We are teaching them the value of money, and they will start out with a prepaid card, before they will get an actual credit card. The first credit card will be, when they have an actual job, and with a low credit line that we can help oversee, until they are ready to be on their own.

  2. We got our girls credit cards and taught them to shop for only needs, have the money in hand before you charge it and pay it off each month.

  3. My daughter uses a debit card now in high school but she needs to start building her credit in college. Will show her how to use and pay off to increase her credit score.

  4. Modeling responsible spending begins early in a child’s life. Teach them how to save wisely and spend frugally!

  5. My parents were poor but I was given a 200 dollar limit on a credit card when I started college. It went the whole 4 years and I never exceeded the 200 dollar limit. It taught me the importance of not buying what you can’t afford and paying off my cc bill immediately. 2 important lessons right at the get go.

  6. Credit cards on a great budget management tool – You get a summary @ the end of the month of expenditures. But, make sure it is paid off in full each month.

  7. My kids have been taught the dangers of using credit cards, and hopefully they will have learned.

  8. I would teach my children to do what I do with credit cards and that is to pay off the whole balance when the bill arrives. Never carry a balance and have to pay interest.

  9. I would set limits and a budget to go by and make them stick with the budget and plan for emergencies.

  10. My children are 6 and 3 but it’s never too early to teach them about financial responsibility. It always starts with knowledge. The more you know the more likely you won’t take the wrong path. Teaching children the value of a dollar at a young age and that it takes hard work to earn that dollar can give them the common sense they need to be responsible. This goes for credit responsibility too.

  11. I will be emphasizing the importance of building up your credit in a responsible way. Reminding them to not put on credit what you can’t afford to pay in cash. Only put items on a credit card to build credit and pay off right away.

  12. my daughter is much younger than college age but I hope by then we will have had a conversation about money, and how to safely and smartly use credit cards.

  13. I don’t have a college student, but would definitely start one out with a prepaid card. Learning to live on a budget and using cards for emergencies is important.

  14. We plan to introduce a credit card to our son before he goes to college. We have spent his life teaching him about saving, spending, and tithing and we feel that he does have a good grasp on his finances. We will introduce him to the credit card while he is still under our roof and as an emergency tool only.

  15. I don’t have a student going off to school, but I would start them out with a pre-paid card with a low amount of money and tell them how long that would have to last before I would add more funds. This would teach them about budgeting.

  16. I will get my kids credit cards the summer before they go to college. It will be used for gas and essentials. I think it’s important for us to teach our kids how to be responsible with credit cars!

  17. I don’t have a college student yet. But she has a debit card linked to her bank account. I am leaning toward a prepaid card once she is older.

  18. My daughter doesn’t have a credit card yet, but when she get one it will be one with a preset limit so that she can learn to manage it.

  19. We would discuss the dangers of credit cards and being responsible. We would help him learn to monitor it carefully and avoid large amounts and interest.

  20. My first credit card was actually in high school with a $500 credit limit through my bank. It was perfect for me at the time. However, credit card companies like to start a credit card limit way too high and that is where kids get in trouble.

  21. We’ve secured a chrome Discover Card for our new college freshman. Before she left, we looked at what her summer earnings were, and helped her to understand that she needed to divide that by nine to know what her monthly spending budget would be this year at school. The statements will come to us this year, and she knows we’ll have a conversation if she goes over the agreed upon amount.

  22. I would explain to them the importance of responsibility with a credit card and how easily misuse can occur.

  23. I like the idea of walking through each step together – helping them know what to consider when choosing a card, what common pitfalls to look for, even going over statements together for the first several months.

  24. Although my children are little and still have a long way to go before credit cards are introduced, I believe that it is important to show them through example. We rarely use credit cards and try to live within our means. But in certain emergencies, it is sometimes critical to have that option. I believe in being honest with my children and its important for them to know that credit cards aren’t “free” money.

  25. I would set a limit on amount allowed each month. With a limit, spending is tracked, so the student knows how much is left.

  26. Hoping to introduce as a last resort…..if you have use cash. The responsibilities and consequences are lesson that needs to be learned or you end up paying for that hamburger, books, etc years down the road.

  27. It’s tough for all of us to manage credit card use in a proper manner. I would suggest my student try to limit use for only material items like supplies and clothing. We’d monitor the bill together for six months (minimum) to manage paying it off each and every month.

  28. I won’t be introducing but i will tell them the consequences of using credit card and responsibilities of using them

  29. My husband and I have always instilled responsible spending and budgeting in our children. This was one area we felt we should spend substantial time and energy to give them the best chance at being financial sound. We plan to introduce my first daughter, headed to college soon, to her first credit card. She has agreed to let us help oversee her usage the first 6 months. Eventually, they have to take the full load on themselves, but we fill if we are their to help support her and give her the knowledge of “smart money”, then she will be very responsible to not get in way of her head but to use the card as a tool to help build her credit. Thank you so much for the opportunity to enter.