College Credit Cards Building A Good Credit History At An Early Age Fight Fees With Low Fee Credit Cards Keep An Eye On The Currency Exchange Market And Save Money When You Travel Top 7 Habits Of People With Great Credit Scores

College student credit cards are intended specifically for students who normally would not qualify for regular credit cards, as they do not have a steady income or a credit history. As a student, it is a good idea to establish a first-rate sound credit history at an early age, which would help you get a regular credit card in the future, regardless of your employment status.

College Credit Cards Versus Generic Credit Cards

In theory, college credit cards are identical to regular credit cards.

However, a college credit card is meant for college students who do not have previous credit history. Hence, these cards have more restrictions or conditions than the generic cards. The top three restrictions include:

– Co-signature from the parent or guardian at the time of application

– Lower credit limit (Example: $500 to $1000)

– Higher interest rates than traditional credit cards: Normal interest rates on these cards are 16-18%

Advantages of a College Credit Card

A college credit card has become a necessity for most students. The advantages are many provided you understand how the credit card works and use it with caution. Students, especially in United States, are prolific users of these college credit cards. This is primarily because it gives them great flexibility to manage their credit.

Students can use college student credit cards to pay their tuition fees, to rent a car, or to fill gas.

In fact, there are certain college credit cards that offer low interest rates to students who maintain good grades. These cards are also packed with rewards and benefits. These cards help students to learn and manage their finance at a young age.

A college credit card can also be a pre-paid one, with a ceiling on the credit limit. This ensures that the student does not overspend and it also helps parents keep an eye on their children’s spending behavior.

Characteristic Features of College Student Credit Cards:

There are many college credit card options from Citi, Discover, and Chase. Apart from these, there are many pre-paid card options. Most of these student cards have many of similar features including:

– 0% APR for the initial period of usually 6 months on both purchases and balance transfers (typically)

– No annual fee, at least for the first year

– Online account management at no extra cost

While many of the above characteristics are also applicable to many traditional more generic credit cards, there are certain distinctive features that make the college student credit card stand apart including:

– 0% liability for any unauthorized charges on the account

– A good GPA helps earns points for the cards

– Theft and fraud alerts

It is a good thought for students to have their own college student credit card. However, it is important to understand that, at an early age, bad credit could have horrible consequences. Parents can assist their kids in choosing the best college credit card based on their child’s spending behavior and repaying capability. College credit cards promise financial freedom at a young age if they are used judiciously.

Do you have credit cards? Do you know exactly which fees you pay, and how much of your monthly payment is devoted to such fees? If not, you’re in good company; too many of us don’t know exactly what we’re paying for when we make our monthly payments. And card companies have been accused of making credit card terms and conditions too complicated for the average card holder to understand. What’s a consumer to do?

First, know what’s out there. Fees come in the form of annual fees, late fees, penalties, fees for cash advances, fees for international purchases, and even fees for paying your bills over the phone. Fees are a slight nuisance to us, but they are big business for card issuers, who took in $25 billion in late and other fees in 2006. Yikes!

There are some steps you can take to reduce the amount of money you pay out in fees. First, sign up for a card that does not charge an annual fee. Never use a credit card to take out a cash advance at an ATM. Those cash advances incur an average 3% fee upon withdrawal, and begin to accrue interest right away. Some interest rates on cash advances can reach 25%! That’s throwing money away.

Likewise, don’t use convenience checks. They incur fees when used, and more fees if they get return or if you place a stop on them. Convenience checks and cash advances might have been no-brainers, but did you know that using your credit card to purchase money orders or lottery tickets can also bring fees? It’s best to use cash or debit for those purchases.

International travelers will find foreign-transaction fees on their credit card statements, and to make matters worse, these fees aren’t always accurate. Travelers abroad who purchased items with their credit cards early in 2006 are now entitled to refunds. (Visit or contact your card company to see if you qualify for this refund.)

If you don’t want to throw your money away on hidden fees, think about applying for one of the best low-fee credit cards. According to Kiplinger.Com, the best of the best are ranked thus: Simmons First National Bank (P), with a recent interest rate of 7.25% and a cash advance rate and fee of 11.25%/3%. This card has no annual fee, and a 25 day grace period. Late and over-limit payments are subject to $29 fees.

Next is the Capital One Platinum Prestige (P), with a recent interest rate of 7.9 and a cash advance rate and fee of 19.8%/3%. This credit card doesn’t charge an annual fee, and carries a grace period of 25 days. Late payments and over-limit charges are subject to respective fees of $35 and $29.

Finally, we have the Pulaski Bank & Trust (G). It has a recent interest rate of 7.99. Cash advances come at a 7.99% rate and no additional fee. There is a $50 annual fee and a 25 day grace period. Late payments and over-charges will both garner a $29 fee.

How bad are credit card fees? They’re not pretty, but you do have some control over the card you choose to carry. Remember, if you’re uncertain about certain fees, call your card company and ask someone to explain them to you. That’s what customer service is all about.

Monitoring the currency exchange rate is very important if you’re planning to go on a vacation and would like to stay within your set budget and save money. Let us understand what exactly currency exchange rate means. In general, depending on the US dollar, most of the other currencies are calculated in value and are either more or less than the value of the US dollar. For example, a Canadian dollar would be worth around 85 percent of the US dollar. Similarly, the British Pound is worth two US dollars. However, owing to the fluctuating market conditions, one day the British Pound could be worth two dollars while on the next, it could be worth more than two dollars.

There are two types of currencies – free floating and pegged. A currency that is determined by the government of the country in relation to the another currency is called a pegged currency. Inthe 1980’s, the Hong Kong dollar was fixed with respect to the US dollar. On the other hand, a free-floating currency is permitted to change in value with respect to all other currencies in the foreign exchange market. When referring to currency, people often discuss issues like the real exchange rate and the nominal exchange rate. The actual exchange rate is the rate for which products of a country can be traded for the products and services of another country. The nominal exchange rate on the other hand, is the value at which the currency of a certain country can be traded with that of another.

Practically speaking, currency exchange rates generally change from one country to another and make travel and tourism easier and more attractive. So, if you’re planning on going on a vacation and there are several countries that you plan to visit, it is advisable to keep an eye on the current exchange rates. This could help you save money. For example, New York City is always full of tourists from France, Japan, the UK and Germany at different times of the year. This is only because at certain times the exchange rates favor the Europeans or the Japanese, making it cheaper for them to visit America than at other times. In recent years, the currency exchange rate is seen to have worked in favor of all the European nations.

Before the Euro came into existence, Austrian currency was the Schilling, Germany the Deutsche Mark, Italian Lira, Switzerland had the Swiss Franc and France the Franc. In the early 80’s the currency exchange rate was two and a half Schillings for a dollar while five French Francs made one US dollar. On the other hand, the Deutsche Mark fluctuated anywhere from 1.7 Marks to 2.5 Marks to the dollar. So, when the US dollar was at 2.5 Marks, the Americans would trade in their dollars for German Marks to stay ahead.

Watching out for the fall or rise in exchange rates is always beneficial for tourists who would like to travel and at the same time save money. Even if you are only thinking of hopping across the border to visit family or are planning on flying to Mexico or Canada, knowing and understanding the nominal exchange value of another country is very important. So, remember to plan your vacation at a time when the fluctuation in exchange rates is most likely to help you.

People with great credit scores have earned them for a reason – they have always borrowed money, and paid it back on time. There’s really no trick to what they’ve done, and there is no one action that will help you get a great credit score. When someone asks me how to earn a good credit score, I tell them to look at the spending habits of those with great scores, and to develop the same habits. Here are the 7 habits of people with great credit scores.

1) Never Pay Cash

People with great credit scores want every purchase to count. And a purchase doesn’t count unless the 3 bureaus know about it! The only way to make sure that the bureaus know how much money you’re spending is to put everything on your card(s.) Rather than deposit your paycheck and spend, think of your spending as a monetary cycle: Put your paycheck in the bank, spend with your credit cards, and pay off the cards with the funds you’ve already deposited. It’s one extra step that pays off big with the added security and boost to your score that credit cards provide. Credit cards aren’t just for larger purchases anymore. Using your credit cards for items like soft drinks and gum has become so common that credit card companies have given a name to them: “Micro-purchases.”

2) Never Use a Debit Card

You won’t find a debit card in the wallets of people with great credit scores. Debit cards provide you absolutely nothing that a credit card won’t, and credit cards will build your credit score! Furthermore, if someone steals your credit card, you’re protected against fraudulent purchases, while with a debit card, you’re out of luck! People with great credit scores take every opportunity to build their credit – going to the grocery store, buying gas, or renting movies!

3) Pay Off Your Balance(s)

People with great credit scores don’t typically carry high credit card balances. The easiest way to emulate this is to make sure that you don’t carry ANY balances. You’ll obtain the best credit score if you make sure that you’re using the smallest portion of your potential limit – which means “Zero.” People with great credit scores make sure to use their cards, but pay the balance off every month.

4) Put Yourself on a Bill Payment Schedule

In order for the credit bureaus to reward your good spending habits, you have to pay your bills on time. However, you have a little leeway. While it’s not a good idea to pay your bills a few days late because your creditors will charge you late penalties, it won’t affect your credit score negatively unless you pay them more than 30 days late. The easiest way to stay on top of your bills is to pick one day out of the month to take care of everything.

5) Consistently Request Higher Credit Card Limits

Because people with great credit scores habitually borrow money and immediately pay it off, the credit card companies are very comfortable consistently raising their spending limits. People with great credit scores consistently request higher limits because it allows them the freedom to borrow and keep a balance, if the need arises, without lowering their scores. You will have the best credit score if you keep the balances of your cards below roughly 35% of the spending limit of each card. People with great credit scores don’t habitually spend over 35% of the limit of their cards. Furthermore, if you have high limits, you can take advantage of the promotional offers that the banks offer from time to time. A borrower I know with a great score recently transferred the second mortgage on his home to a 1.99% APR promotional rate on his credit card – the rate is good for the life of the loan!

6) Never Close a Credit Card Account

The credit bureaus take into account the age of your credit lines – and people with great credit scores know this, and exploit it. Many times, people with mediocre or low scores will pay off a card they’ve abused and close the account because they subconsciously think it was the card’s fault they let the balance get as high as it did. This is NOT the correct thing to do in this situation. That card has a great history behind it! You’ve shown the bureaus that you’re willing to borrow a large sum of money and then pay it down to zero. People with great credit scores NEVER close credit card accounts because they want to show that they have a long history of properly using credit.

7) Never Rent

Your home is probably the largest purchase you will ever make in your life, and is the one purchase that can make the biggest impact on your credit score. When you purchase a home, you’re showing the bureaus that you can consistently budget yourself to pay a large portion of your income towards an account on a monthly basis. There are a number of reasons people with great credit scores refuse to rent, and the impact of paying a mortgage on their scores is one of them. When a first time homebuyer finally closes on their home and pays the mortgage on time for a few months, they will see their credit score jump around 50 points – and sometimes higher!

People with great credit scores haven’t achieved anything too terribly difficult – they’ve merely adopted some fantastic spending habits. If you would like to earn a great credit score, borrow these habits and watch your score climb. Along with your score, your financial health should benefit, as well!

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