Off Beat

Published on March 6th, 2014 | by Ian G. Elbanbuena

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Credit Card For College Students: How Do Parents Deal With This?

As a parent, you’ll know you’re getting older when your kids start going to college. That will be the stepping stone of their maturity. The freedom to do what they want is one of the things they have in their hands.

If you have children going off to college, you have to make sure that they know how to manage their finances. It is one of the important things they need to learn especially when they need to be on their own. Because you want to support your children’s financial matter, is it advisable to give a credit card for your college students? Here’s how to deal with this problem:

Analysing if your Child needs a Credit Card

We all know that credit card provides convenience to its users. However, this convenience might turn into financial disaster especially if the credit card holder do not know how to use it responsibly.
The first thing you need to do is to analyse the situation and think if your child who’s going off to college will surely need a credit card. Have a talk with your child and ask him / her some things about how he / she will manage the money. You may ask these questions:

• What will you choose: cash or credit card for allowance?
• What would you do if I give you a credit card?
• What if I let you use it? Where do you plan to spend the money?
• What would you buy using the card?
• Are you ready to face the consequences in case you reach the limit of the credit card?
Evaluate the answer of your child base on these questions to help you think through this matter.

Advantage of Credit Cards for Students

Credit cards provide a lot of advantages to its users. The most common is its convenience because it is safe to carry than cash. Listed below are other advantages college students can get if they have a credit card:

Easy to use – This thin, plastic card will settle all the transactions you need
Managing the finances – Tracking the expenses are easier when the credit card is used to spend because it keeps electronic records of the expenditures

Can be used for Online Transaction – Allows the student to pay bills and make online purchases easily
Helps Build Credit – This is one of the common reasons why parents give credit card for the children. It can help build credit and gives a good record for the credit history. A flawless and positive credit score will surely help an individual in the future, especially if they need to apply for a loan.
Provide a healthy mind-set for the student – Credit cards will teach your child as a training ground in managing their finances. Getting their hands on their own credit card will teach them how to control their money flow. In result, it will let them know how to value every cent in their money.
A safety net for your child – Because credit cards are password protected, the risk of being mugged lowers. This can also prevent wasteful monthly charges and allows you to identity thieves who will attempt to do fraudulent transactions on the account.

The Best Credit Cards For College Students

There are a lot of credit cards offered by different banks and credit card companies. Just because it’s a type of credit card, doesn’t mean it’s the right one for your child. Listed below are the credit cards that are perfect for college students:

Citi Clear Card

Citibank’s Citi Clear Card is one of the famous type of card for college students. It provides an array of benefits to its card holder such as:
• One time annual fee of 28 SGD
• Comes with a reward program. Allows the card holder earn 1Citi Dollar for every $1 spent.
• A lot of rebates like: best dining deals island-wide, up to 10 percent rebate at over 800 merchant outlets, 6 percent rebate all year and up to 12 percent discount on special days, petrol deals at Esso and Shell, 5 percent cash back on online shipping charges at Citi Globeshopper.
• After-dark privileges at Zouk, Wine Bar, Velvet Underground Dance, Wala Wala Café Bar, KPO, and Balaclava

People who can apply for this credit card should be 18 years old and above. However, applicants below 21 years old must get their parent / guardian’s consent to the application and they need to guarantee for the payment of outstanding balances. There’s no minimum income required. Students from the following institutions are welcome to apply: NTU, NUS, SMU, SIM, SUTD, SIT, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, DigiPen, ESSEC, GIST-TUM Asia, INSEAD, S P Jain, Tisch, UNLV, Nanyang Polytechnic, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Republic Polytechnic, Singapore Polytechnic, Temasek Polytechnic, LASALLE-SIA and NAFA.

Standard Chartered NUS $500 Credit Card

Standard Chartered also have their own type of student credit card. The advantages of this include:
• Only 30 SGD annual fee
• Shopping discounts
• Dining discounts at: Harry’s Bar and Restaurant, Kintamani Indonesian Restaurant, Furama Riverfront Singapore, Pepper Steakhouse & Bistro, Choubei Japanese Restaurant, Scandinavian Seafood Dining and Bar, Lemongrass Thai, Peach Garden
• Rewards program that includes 2 WE Cinemas movie tickets, Jack’s Place S$20 Voucher, TANGS $20 Gift Card and Best Denki $50 Voucher
• Discounts at Hagen Dazs to Isetan vouchers
• Like the first credit card mentioned, there is no application requirements needed

E-Vibes Card

Another student credit card option is E-Vibes Card from Maybank, which doesn’t need any income requirement. It is considered as one of the best entertainment cards in Singapore because of its features:
• Rewards program that includes 1-for-1 Movie at Cathay Cineplexes1, food treats at Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, and Point at Qoo10, Groupon and iTunes treats
• Discount drinks at clubs and pubs
• Every S$1 spend gives you additional points
• No annual fee
• S$ 500 credit limit card

Being a college student is a big leap for a student’s life. This is also one of the most crucial stage in your child’s life because he / she needs to be financially responsible. Before giving your child their own credit card, train them first in handling their money with real cash. As a parent, you need to impart some of your financial experiences to your child so he / she can understand certain scenarios. You can also teach about creating a budget to help in managing their finances. The credit card options mentioned are some of the finest credit card services in the market ideal for college students.

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About the Author

Ian G. Elbanbuena is a professional finance blogger and infopreneur. He mainly writes on personal finance, credit, loans, insurance, debt and business on his blog called HandleYourFinance. At present he works on behalf of Compare Hero, the country's leading comparison website. This portal helps individuals in saving money by comparing best credit cards in Malaysia. Follow him on Twitter: @elbanbuenaian



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