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Can anyone advise me on how to build credit as a college student?

I recently enrolled in a university and would like to apply for a credit card. Once I get it, I would like to maintain a good student credit score. My elder brother had a tattered credit score upon graduation. Consequently, he has advised me to get it right from the start.

Therefore, I am looking for information on building credit as a student once I get my student’s first credit card. So, does anyone have useful information on how to build credit as a college student?


Amanda Johnson

in Student Loans

1 answer

1 answer

Tara Andrews on May 24, 2018

Unfortunately, your brother is not the only person who has graduated from campus with a bad credit score. And I doubt he is the last either. Many college and university students engage in deeds that result in them having tattered students’ credit scores when they finally throw their graduations caps in the air in what is graduation.

Their joy of completing this vital step in life is often short-lived since lenders come for them in no time. No matter your situation, you will have to pay up to get another loan to help you get by. Therefore, you need to keep a good credit score throughout your campus life to minimize such undesirables.

Let me cut the chase, below are tips to help you build credit as a student:

  • Start off as an authorized user

I know you may feel all grown and responsible and will want to control your finances. While this might seem enticing, I advise you to let your parents/ guardians own your first student credit card. Let them make you an authorized user such that they can monitor your spending habits.

Many students who use this method end up with good credit scores since their parents and guardians who are more experienced on financial issues guide them through the journey while providing necessary checks and restrictions. These will keep the student from engaging in any toxic financial behavior such as sharing houses, over drafting with no interest, and student loans.

  • Apply for your credit card

If you can show that you have a reliable income, then you can proceed to apply for your credit card. Students who demonstrate that they have a stable source of income show the lenders that they are low-risk individuals and get lower interest rates on their loans.

Choose the best card for you

Not all the credit cards out there are similar. Thus, if you are in a position to apply for a regular card, thoroughly scrutinize the conditions attached to the card such as annual fees, interest rates, billing policies, and credit lines (limits).

  • Make small and occasional purchases using your credit card

This method is yet another way to build credit as a college student. Not using your credit card does not improve your credit score. Moreover, it can result in account closure due to inactivity.

Therefore, hit the mall occasionally and make small purchases of things such as groceries. 

Tad Frazier2 years ago

The tips above are quite useful for building credit as a student. Implementing them along with the tips I will suggest below will set you on the path to having good credit scores. I recommend that you do the following in this regard:

Ensure that you pay your credit card balance each month

Try not to default on your monthly repayments of the credit card balance. This act shows responsible financial behavior that makes you get a better score among lenders. Make purchases of items/ services that you can afford. Do not live beyond your ability. You can achieve this by looking at your income and living within its limits.

Paying your monthly balance will also keep interest fees at bay.

Make other payments on time

Gone are the days that only your credit card history was used to give you a credit score. Nowadays, there are credit bureaus that monitor your financial habits across the board. 

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