Turning 18 and Credit Cards

Reaching 18 is considered as a big event in a person’s life. For a teenager, this will also be the time to pursue higher education, get a job, and be more financially independent. Many young people choose to get a credit card as soon as they turn 18. This article focuses on how young people can prepare themselves on the financial responsibilities they’re about to face.

Choosing Your First Credit Card

Young People and Financial Challenges

In the past years, credit card issuers allow students to open their own credit card accounts provided they have a co-signer. Some credit cards still require a co-signer but since credit card companies introduced student credit cards in the market, it allowed young people to apply for a credit card on their own.

Issuers of credit cards for students often send advertising mails to potential cardholders as soon as they graduate from high school. Many college students opt to apply for a student credit card because it gives them the convenience to spend even without cash. Parents also provide their kids with student credit cards to ensure that they’ll get the financial support they need.

There is a danger in signing for the first attractive credit card offer you receive in your mail. If you haven’t done your own research, you won’t be able to compare potential choices. For instance, the card may offer a very low introductory APR. However, the low interest rate may only last for 6 months and afterwards the regular rate would be much higher than you expected. If you won’t take time to shop around, you could be stuck with a student credit card that imposes expensive charges.

Reading and understanding the fine print is a very important step that you should never overlook when choosing a credit card. This advice isn’t just for young people but for adults who are planning to get a credit card as well. Don’t be discouraged even if the Terms and Conditions are written in very small letters and may seem to be very long. Knowing the real deal can save you from possible trouble in the long run.

Prepare Yourself for the Responsibilities

What responsibilities should you prepare for? Owning a credit card isn’t just about the luxury of spending without cash. It involves duties to your credit card issuer. Staying true to your obligations as a credit card holder is your best protection against bad credit.

As soon as you receive your student credit card, make sure that you use it only on important purchases. Before charging any expense to your card, consider carefully if you can pay back your balance in full and on time. Where will you get the money to pay off your charges?

Use your student credit card to build your personal credit history while you’re still in college. Having good credit will prepare you financially especially when graduate from college. A good credit standing will give you an advantage when looking for a job or applying for a loan.

About the Author

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