Are Students Eligible for a Credit Card?

I have been asked whether or not students are eligible for a credit card several times now, by different people.

This is a tricky question and one that is best answered only after deciding whether or not you should even have a credit card as a student.

Once you’ve determined whether or not you should even go get a credit card, then the next step is figuring out whether you are eligible for a card.

Here are some things that credit card companies look for in deciding whether or not somebody is eligible for their credit:

 Income

This is something that all lenders, credit card companies or traditional bank loan companies, will look at when they are considering whether to give you a credit card. As a student you may not be eligible for a credit card if you do not have any income.

money pic

The reason lenders look at income is to determine whether or not you are eligible for a card is to ensure that you will be able to pay your debt back.

They obviously don’t want to lend to a student who has no income and a poor credit history because chances are they won’t get them back.

Credit History

Students may not be eligible for a credit card if they have no credit history or poor credit history.

If you have ever not paid a bill and it has gone to collections, or if you’ve repeatedly been late on payments or have defaulted on your student loans or something of that nature, you may not be eligible for a credit card.

Lenders are looking at whether you are likely to pay your debt back. If the answer is no – you’re not likely because you never paid it back in the past – they won’t lend to you.

If you have no credit history, which many students don’t, then you can sometimes still get a credit card, it just won’t have a very large limit (maybe $500).

Want a Card but Keep Getting Denied? 

If you really want a credit card (maybe you want rewards points or cash back or something), but keep getting denied for a card, then you may want to get a bill or two under your name to build credit history a bit.

You can also ask a cosigner to co-sign your credit card, if you are interested in that.

This could help you get a credit card sooner but then if you don’t pay it, the cosigner is on the line for your debt. It’s nice to be as independent as possible as a student, so you may not want to ask a cosigner to help you out.

Some Students Are Eligible For Credit Cards

Just because you are a student doesn’t mean that you will never be eligible for a credit card – try it out. Some companies are easier to get a card with than others, and then you can build up your credit and get a better card later on. Don’t give up!

 

Do you have a credit card/did you have one as a student?

Should Students Have a Credit Card?

When I first became a student, I really struggled with whether or not I wanted to get a credit card, or whether any student should have a credit card.

Having a credit card is a big responsibility, and for students perhaps even more so, because they are still learning the ropes financially.

Credit cards for students can be very dangerous. Money, through the use of credit cards, can be wasted on things like pizza and beer, instead of used responsibly, which would, of course, be unfortunate.

Credit Cards Build up Credit for Students

I think a credit card can be a powerful tool to better your financial position. There is no doubt that credit cards help the user build up credit. Since you are a student, there is likely not much of an opportunity for you to build credit as you go through school.

Having a credit card, if you use it responsibly and pay it off after each purchase or at the end of the month, can help students build up credit and start graduated life on the right foot.

Easier to Get into Debt

If you are anything like me, you are trying to graduate with either no debt or as little debt as possible.

Credit cards make it easier to get into debt, unfortunately. The debt on credit cards is high interest, so whether or not students should get a credit card depends on whether or not they can be responsible with that card.

You don’t want to graduate with student loans and credit card debt. Drowning financially is not a good way to start your life after you graduate.

 Free Stuff With Rewards

My favorite part about having a credit card is the ability to get free stuff through rewards. I’ve blogged about cash back credit cards before,  but there are also travel reward cards and other great rewards that you can get through using a credit card.

As a student there isn’t much extra money at the end of each month to put toward things like travel or generally enjoying yourself so sometimes the rewards that students can get from credit cards are really helpful. I have financed some vacations through my credit cards, and therefore they ended up being completely and utterly free, which was a great feeling. Though it does make you feel like you are cheating the system a bit!

The Verdict

You may just be looking for a “yes or no” answer to the question of whether or not students should get a credit card, but the thing is, I can’t answer that for you.

If you are financially responsible and will pay off your balance each month, then generally yes, these types of students should have a credit card.

If you are at all concerned about your ability to pay back your card or avoid going into debt with your card, then no, you shouldn’t get a credit card as a student.

I know that’s a wishy washy answer, but that is why personal finance is called “Personal finance” instead of “impersonal finance” – there are no blanket rules that will work for absolutely everybody.

Save Space and Decorate Your Dorm on a Budget

There’s nothing more exciting for high school grads than going off to college. It isn’t as commonplace to go off to college in a whole different city in Canada, but it does happen and it seems to happen quite often in the US.

We all know how small dorm rooms can be. They are squishy and tight, and sometimes you have a roommate that makes the walls seem even more close together.

On top of that, students tend to be on a tight budget considering that they are generally unemployed (or have part time or low paying jobs) and have school to pay for.

dorm room pic

 Photo from Apartmenttherapy.com

Here are some tips to settle into your new dorm without going bankrupt and losing space:

Use Texture

Texture is something that can create an interesting focal point without taking up space. If your rug is woven and your sheets are linen and there is a different texture on your window coverings, it can create a visually appealing space on a budget and with space.

You need to buy these things anyway so using texture is a great way to decorate while saving money.

Avoid Clutter

One of the things that some students do which tend to hurt instead of help them more often than not is over decorating. They bring in posters from their teenage years, clutter from classes and memorabilia from their lives back home.

Pictures are hung up on walls and sometimes even just thumb tacked.

Avoiding clutter is a FREE way of keeping your space interesting, and visually appealing. Plus, it’s hard to study with clutter distracting you.

Stick to One Accent Colour

I went to a friend’s dorm room one time and she had pink, purple, green, blue, and grey everywhere. It was all bright colors and it was overwhelming. She was in such a small space and I can’t imagine how she was able to live like that.

One of the best ways clean up a room is by sticking to one accent colour and using neutrals for the rest. Greys, blacks, whites, and wood tones are great neutrals.

Use Classifieds

There are so many people out there that re-decorate every year, and list their old décor on Craistlist, Kijiji or equivalent. Why not snag some free or cheap deco there and save some money?

Desks are everywhere, so you can get them usually for free, and if it’s it not-so-great condition, slap a coat of paint on it.

Ikea & Target

I’m a personal fan of Ikea because it’s got $0.75 hot dogs, and who doesn’t like that? But in all seriousness there is plenty of great, cheap décor perfect for a dorm at Ikea.

It doesn’t’ matter that it’s not the best quality since you are decorating a dorm room, not a mansion.

These are all tips to decorate your dorm room on a budget and saving space all at once.

Cheap and Semi-Healthy Snacks to Help You Through Your Next Cramming Session

If you are one of those students who makes frequent trips to the vending machine at 11:00 at night to fuel another couple of hours of cramming, you aren’t alone.

For my first year in university, I spent probably $5/day just on snacks (granted, now that vending machine “food” is so damn expensive I guess I’m not surprised – that’s only like two bags of chips). Sometimes I’d spend zero, but the days that I was hanging out at school until late, trying to get through the next few chapters, I lived off of skittles and potato chips.

pic of chips

Chips!

Not only are they expensive but they are really unhealthy, too. Why put your body through that? It’s not good for your mind and eating all of that sugar and sodium can counteract the good you are doing with studying.

Here are some easy snacks that I’ve started carrying around in my backpack everywhere for when hunger strikes:

Popcorn

I read something once that said popcorn has more iron and fibre in it than leafy greens, which made me incredibly happy since I’m a huge fan of popcorn.

I make a big batch of it with my air popper (they cost like $30 and you can use it in a dorm) and it lasts me for days.

I remember one of the vending machines at my school sold bags of popcorn for $2.50 (!!) for a chip-sized bag, and I can make popcorn including butter for under $0.50 for the same amount.

Cheese and Crackers

This isn’t even remotely healthy unless you eat it with whole wheat crackers or Triscuits or something and low fat cheese, but it’s way better than vending machine food.

I love cheese and crackers and think they are delicious. Cheese isn’t cheap but it’s still cheaper than vending machine food and will keep you full for longer. Crackers can be found on sale for really cheap.

Granola Bars

There are a lot of granola bars out there these days that are just needlessly expensive. I mean, just because it has “fibre” on the title doesn’t mean it’s a superfood, so calm down, granola bar producers.

In any case, you can get no-name or store brand granola bars to do the trick and you can even keep them in a dorm since they don’t need refrigeration.

Nuts

I heard somewhere – and now I can’t remember where – that people that eat nuts every day live much longer than people that don’t.

That’s neither here nor there when you are hungry at school and you have a full night of studying ahead of you, but it’s a nice little bonus.

Easy, cheaper than chips, (get peanuts if you are on a budget) and delicious and you have yourself a filling snack.

Plus one that you can keep in your dorm or backpack and won’t go bad or spoil on you.