When college students leave to begin their post-secondary education, they are often times surprised at how much money they need to “survive” in college. Students quickly realize that their budgeting skills may not have been as strong as they thought and therefore start scrambling to survive financially for the rest of the year.

Insert credit card companies here…

College students are a credit card company’s prime prospect. They like to get you while you’re young for a couple of reasons. First, they have a strong hunch that your parents will bail you out if you run up your credit card bill. Second, you have a long credit life ahead of you. That means lots of years of interest payments for the credit card companies.

Credit card companies truly understand the college demographic. You can tell by the marketing tactics they use to lure young adults into applying for new credit cards. These tactics mainly involve giving something away for “free.” Expect to see credit card company representatives on or near campus giving out free stuff for credit card applications. Free things are nice, but this isn’t the way to sign up for a credit card.

Shop Around

When you’re ready for a credit card, don’t sign up for the first one that comes your way. Instead, comparison shop the way you would for a new car. Look at a few different credit cardsand pick out the one that’s the best deal. At a minimum, your credit card should have no annual fee and a low-interest rate. 

The bottom line is that no matter how attractive the card or the free gift may seem, you’re better off looking for your own credit card. Use credit responsibly so you’re not the one out of four that graduates with thousands in credit card debt.

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