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The best credit cards & information on how to use them

Credit cards are an essential tool for a successful college student. As much as you may resist this idea, several of our members strongly suggest taking the college years opportunity to teach your son or daughter about credit.

Using credit cards at Penn StateThe best place to start looking for a credit card is through your personal banking institution. They may provide attractive interest rates based on your account standing and can automatically link payments to an already existing bank account. Take the recommendation from our banking page and choose PNC for your student's first credit card. It is a widely accessible bank at University Park and they offer a great low interest credit card.

If you do not like the options at PNC or your personal bank, a great card to consider is the Capital One Journey student card.

Penn State Capital One Student Card

The Capital One Journey card has:

Teach your student to be responsible with credit

Credit is not something that should be abused. Many financial problems around the world are a result of poor use of credit and individuals living beyond their means. If you honestly believe your student cannot handle a credit card than that is of course a decision you will need to make and nobody will think you are crazy. However, the only way they will begin to understand and respect credit is to use it and under the guidance of a seasoned veteran like a parent is a great way to start.

Tips and strategies about the basics of credit cards

Credit cards should be viewed as a convenience, and never a reason to spend money you don't have. Credit cards should merely be a substitute for carrying around extra amounts of cash. A purchase should NEVER under any circumstances be made unless you have the cash in your bank account to back it up.

Manage your cash flowThe second tip we can offer is to help sure your student understand the very real danger of identity theft and credit card fraud. Teaching them to safeguard their card and to be careful where they use it is essential. Use these tips when discussing the dangers with your son or daughter:

Don't be afraid to use a credit card

Your student should not be afraid to use their card because of fraud possibilities, because these situations are somewhat rare. Owning a credit card can often be a good way to keep a budget. Putting monthly bills on your credit card is a fine way to manage and monitor your cash flows. When you pay your credit card on time, you are essentially using someone else’s money for 30 days for things you can use now.