Ask anybody who has seen the downside of credit cards, “What are the best credit cards for college students?”
They will almost certainly tell you, “Just don’t get one.” It kind of reminds us of how reformed ex-smokers like to tell kids never to start smoking, and for good reason. The average credit card interest rate on student cards is just one reason.
Using credit cards to buy things we can’t afford is addictive, especially to a college student who is just beginning to flex their independence.
Understanding how credit cards really work
Understanding how credit works is important for beginners in the low rate credit card game. You’re working so hard to get good grades so you can begin earning more than your average high school grad as soon as you graduate.
It would be tragic if you had to start forking over those shiny new paychecks to shell out for interest on stuff you can hardly remember buying.
- The best credit card for you will be a personalized choice, and depends on how you use your credit and when you pay off your balances.
- If you carry a balance from month to month, making only the minimum payments while you’re in school, your best credit cards will always be the ones with the lowest interest rate (Standard APR).
- If you tend to pay off your balance every month when the bill arrives, the best credit cards for you will let you earn plenty of rewards points on everyday purchases, and redeem them for stuff you actually need.
- The best fixed rates are the ones you’ll want to keep an eye out for. Those average credit card interest rates will be at about 12% or less.
Beware of fees on the low rate credit card
Membership fees and annual fees are usually low or nonexistent on the best credit cards. Some annual fees may be tolerable, as long as the other card benefits, such as low interest rates and good rewards programs, balance out the fees you’ll pay.
But, take a hard look at your Penalty APR too. This is the interest rate that kicks in when you’ve made a late payment or gone over your credit limit. Be realistic about the likelihood that you’ll end up paying that higher rate in the next two years, and then choose sensibly from among the options.
Getting the best fixed rates on your student credit card means understanding the average credit card interest rate, watching out for fees, and knowing how best to use your card.