Help Students Stay Away from Student Credit Card Debt

Young people who are in college face everyday challenges – dealing with peers and professors, keeping up with school work, preparing for exams, juggling between school work, their social lives and family responsibilities. If you’re a college student, perhaps you may agree that college years can be considered as one of the toughest phases in a person’s life.

When it comes to financial matters, money management can be as tough for those who are pursuing a degree. In fact, the Consolidated Credit Counseling Services Inc. reported that 40% of college students try to apply for a credit card on their freshmen year as financial back-up. Unfortunately, many young people found themselves stuck in serious debt as a result of poor credit card management.

A survey conducted by Nellie Mae – a leading student loan lending company, shows that in 2001, 83% of undergraduate students carry an average of $2,327 unpaid charges on their student credit cards. Most students do not have a job so you can easily imagine how difficult it would be for these young people to recover from credit card debt on their own.

Surviving Student Credit Cards Debt

Are you a college student and do you have a credit card? If yes, this is the perfect time to take a close look at your personal credit status and see exactly where you stand. Do you currently have unpaid bills in your credit card account? Are you having a hard time keeping up with your payments? When was the last time you checked your credit report to see your personal rating?

A lot of students apply for a college credit card saying that having one should help them build an early credit history. The fact is, you can only build a solid credit history for yourself if you can keep up with your repayment obligations. For instance, if you own a student credit card, you should be able to pay off your balances on time at all times. Otherwise, you may not be building your credit history at all. If you’re using your credit card indiscriminately and you’re not conscious about your payment dues, you may be inflicting more damage to your personal credit.

Don’t let the convenience of a student credit card lead you to poor spending habits. If you decided to own a credit card, then you should be aware of your responsibilities as a cardholder right from the very beginning. Every student must realize that purchasing with a credit card isn’t all about convenience and fun. More importantly, it’s all about staying true to your duties as a borrower.

There really is no big secret to avoiding bad debt. As a student credit card owner, you need to exercise control over your personal spending. Be aware of your due dates and don’t let anything keep you from submitting your payment on time. If you’re not sure whether you can afford to pay off a certain purchase by your due date, the best thing to do is to cancel the purchase. If you really feel that you NEED to make that purchase, give yourself more time to save enough money and pay for it in cash.

But what if you already have past due balances in your student credit card account? If it’s not possible for you to pay off your full balance, pay as much as you possibly can each month. Instead of submitting only the minimum amount due, do your best to slash off as much as possible from your balance. Call your credit card company and try to negotiate. Perhaps some of your fees can be waived or your APR be reduced so you can focus on your original charges. You can also ask help from your parents and see if they will be able to lend you some cash so you can pay off your entire balance immediately. More importantly, avoid incurring new charges while you’re trying to keep with your repayment.

About the Author

Samantha Wilson is a consultant for credit cards for students. For years she has written student credit card articles that would help build student credit.

Copyright 2009

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