When college students are away from home, they’re not only learning in class, but they’re learning how to manage things like money. It’s especially important that they learn how to manage their money responsibly, as those early habits will set the trend for their future.
When I applied for my first credit card in college, I felt like a big shot and spent like one too. It wasn’t until about eight years ago that I finally learned how to be responsible with credit cards. I wish I had been taught from the get-go; it would have saved me a lot of financial grief.
College students want and need independence as they manage their expenses, but do them a favor and introduce them to credit cards with your guidance.
1. Students can still earn rewards with a credit card: Not all student credit cards provide rewards, so find one that does based on the type of purchases your student will be making most often.
For example, Discover it Chrome for Students card rewards your student with 2% Cashback Bonus on the first $1,000 in combined gas and restaurant purchases each quarter. (It’s automatic; no sign-up required). Other purchases will earn 1% Cashback Bonus and anywhere between 5% and 20% through Discover Deals.
2. Building a credit history begins on “Day One”: From the moment they have their first credit card, they’re building a credit history that employers, landlords and lenders will one day use to assess their creditworthiness, so it’s not something to be taken lightly and should be monitored.
All Discover cardmembers receive their FICO credit score for free each month on their statement and when they log into Discover.com. Students can keep a watchful eye on their credit score this way.
3. Stay protected from fraudulent purchases: If college students misplace or lose their credit card, it’s important to be with a company that doesn’t hold them responsible for this. Make sure the credit card you use protects you from unauthorized charges on your account.
Students are protected against all unauthorized charges on Discover card with its $0 Fraud Liability Guarantee. If something looks suspicious, call Discover.
4. Fast, kind, helpful customer service is absolutely key: The ins and outs of credit cards can be confusing and mom and dad might not always be available, so make sure your student has a card that offers high-quality, day and night customer service agents to answer their questions immediately.
Discover’s customer service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with U.S.-based representatives. Customer service can be contacted by phone, through Twitter @Discover or via chat when logged into Discover.com
5. Bonus — take advantage of mobile apps on-the-go: Your credit card should offer a mobile app for smartphones or tablets to allow easy access-on-the-go. It’s usually the quickest way to check on account activity.
The Discover Mobile app lets cardmembers access their entire account wherever they are, and provides access to earning Cashback Bonus, redeeming it and contacting customer service.
Visit Discover.com for more information and to sign up!
Discover would love to give a little extra help as we start a new year of school, so one lucky reader will win a $25 Discover gift card!
This is a partnered program, but all opinions are 100% mine.