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How to successfully apply for a student credit card
Start building your credit history from the get-go with a student credit card.
Student credit cards can be a great entrance into the world of credit. While paying on plastic gives a sense of financial freedom, this liberty comes with lots of responsibility. You’ll want to make sure that you’re able to pay off your balance in full each month, and one way to do this is to stick to a low monthly credit limit.
If you think you’re ready to apply for a student credit card, learn how to compare cards and find out how you can successfully apply online.
A student credit card can help with the following:
- Provide an easy and safe way to make purchases in person, over the phone and online.
- Offer simple repayment options.
- Help cultivate financial discipline.
- Allow you to work on building your credit score.
- Provide access to rewards and benefits.
- Fees. Typically, the more basic the card, the lower the annual fee. As you start to add in better rewards and perks, the annual fees start increasing. You’ll want to avoid an annual fee if you aren’t going to actively use the rewards a card offers.
- Interest rates. Typical interest rates sit around 19.99%, however, it’s easy to find a low interest rate credit card. If you think you’ll be unable to pay off your balance in full some months, a low rate card could be a handy sidekick.
- Extra features. If you’re planning on travelling in the near future, you can look at cards offering complimentary travel insurance coverage. Other features like purchase protection and extended warranty are also useful features.
- Rewards. Some card companies also provide reward points or cash back on eligible purchases. It’s possible to find a no annual fee card that offers cash back or rewards points.
- Credit history. Student credit cards are often the first introduction to a line of credit. However, if you’ve used other credit products in the past and need to work on your credit score, consider applying for a secured card to rebuild your credit.
- Managing your account. Your credit card should have an easy online management system where you can quickly access your statements, expenses, limits, interest rates, fees – and find out about any news or offers.
While the details can differ between credit card providers, some of the most common information required includes:
- Personal details. Your full name, date of birth, address, email and Social Insurance Number (SIN).
- Student details. Information about your university or college, program, current year and student ID.
- Financial details. Your income, expenses, assets and liabilities may be required.
The application process can vary between credit card providers, however the general process for applying for a credit card is:
- Do your research. The first step should always include doing thorough research to find the right credit card for your needs. Compare a variety of different credit cards to get an idea of the various benefits and features of each card.
- Decide on a card. After comparing cards, pick a card which is most suitable for your needs. Check the eligibility criteria for the card and make sure you meet the requirements before you apply.
- Applying online. Fill out the online application form for the specific credit card, which usually takes around 10 minutes if you have all the necessary details on hand. Make sure that all the information is correct and then submit the form. You may get an almost immediate response indicating whether your application is successful or not. Other providers may require more information or some time to decide whether to approve your application or not.
- Wait for approval. The final verification of details and other documents can take around three to five business days. Once your application is verified, the credit card provider will contact you. If you’ve been approved, you should usually expect to receive your card in the mail within seven to 10 days.
Credit card providers will look at your credit history while processing your application – and a major aspect of past credit history includes recent credit applications. If you’ve applied for multiple credit cards at once or been rejected for applications recently, it will reflect poorly on your credit rating and can raise red flags for a provider. It’s important to conduct research to ensure you meet the eligibility requirements before applying for a new credit card.
Student credit cards can be an excellent way to learn how to responsibly manage money while building your credit score. Generally, student cards have a lower fee structure because of the limited repayment capacity of students. If you use the credit card responsibly – by only making necessary purchases and paying your bill in full each month – you could start building a good credit history which will benefit you later in life.
Since there are many student credit cards on the market, it’s best to compare your options to find the right credit card for your needs.
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