College is an important time in everyone's life for many reasons. Establishing basic financial literacy stands among them. Students' money-related decisions, such as the credit and utility payments they make - or don't make - begin factoring into these young adults' credit reports, as well as the assessment of any alternative credit report compiled regarding them.
"Students can start making sound credit decisions as early as freshman year."
Even for those who don't use credit cards, sound financial decisions, like timely rent and utility payments, can help establish a record of responsibility with money. Conversely, students who accept the first credit card offer in their mailbox and don't pay attention to spending paint themselves as risks early on, earning the suspicion of creditors. Let's look at some practices that'll help collegians develop promising credit:
Applying for a credit card, using it semi-regularly and making monthly payments is the simplest way for college kids to build credit. NerdWallet noted 35 percent of all credit scores center around timely payments, so establishing this habit early on bodes well for the future.
If parents don't want students to have their own cards just yet, CreditCards.com advised making them authorized users on adults' cards. Students benefit if their folks have good credit, and can make purchases and payments to build credit themselves.
Choose cards wisely
Despite crackdowns by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, creditors still aggressively target students with card offers, featuring high monthly limits, early initial interest and other gimmicks. ConsumersUnion advised against falling for these, and recommended setting a low spending limit until establishing a history of responsibility.
Also, according to Discover, many student credit cards don't have annual fees, so don't accept one that does, even if its other perks are attractive.
Don't forget other bills
People from whom students try to buy cars or gain mortgage approval won't just examine card payments. Tax bills, utilities, municipal fees and even library fines carry a certain weight, and some creditors now assess rent payments as well.
CreditCards.com stated that remaining on top of these expenses is just as important to establishing a strong financial footprint. As such, the use of alternative credit reporting solutions from Microbilt that track such metrics may end up helping students a great deal.