There are various reasons why you might want or need a credit card as a student.
Student credit cards can help:
- cover unexpected expenses
- build a credit history
- earn reward points
- give you an additional means of payment abroad
However, you need to make sure you can afford a credit card. This means:
- being able to make minimum monthly repayments, but ideally repaying in full each month so you’re not charged interest
- not missing repayments – if you miss a repayment you may incur additional charges and also negatively affect your credit score
How to avoid credit card mistakes
It can be easy for credit card debt to mount up if you don’t budget effectively. Here are some ways to keep on top of your spending and avoid getting into debt:
- pay off your balance in full every month
- stay within your credit limit – going over can mean hefty charges
- budget carefully so you know how much you can afford to spend
- keep track of your spending, paying attention to spending in different areas such as shopping or food so you know whether or not you’re overspending
- set up a Direct Debit for your credit card repayments so you won’t be charged for missed or late payments
How to apply for a student credit card
If you have a student bank account, you may be offered a student credit card alongside this account. Because your bank will already be aware of your financial status, these cards tend to have low credit limits and fixed rates.
If you don’t have a student account or haven’t been offered a student credit card, you can apply for one from another lender. It’s wise to shop around, but be aware of introductory offers that only last for a fixed period.
You can usually apply online and then the credit card provider will check your credit history to see if you’re a suitable candidate. The better your credit score is, the more likely you are to have your application accepted.
To be eligible for a student credit card, you’ll need to:
- be over 18
- have an existing current account
- provide proof of enrolment from your university/college
Other eligibility criteria may also apply and may vary depending on the lender. You'll need to have all the relevant required documentation before starting the application process.