Are there credit cards for students?
Yes, there are credit cards available with students in mind. These can help young Australians to build their credit report and learn crucial life skills around budgeting and managing personal finances.
Credit cards are a personal responsibility, so the reasons behind getting a credit card should also be personal.
You should always consider all the pros and cons of taking out a credit card before you sign on the dotted line.
For example, pros include the fact that credit cards can be a good way of paying for purchases, earning rewards points and building a credit history.
But there are also cons – credit cards can be expensive and put a lot of financial pressure on you.
You need to consider your personal finances and your lifestyle choices. Do you need a credit card? What options are out there for me? Can I handle the repayments? Why am I getting a credit card in the first place?
For most Australians, there are no great barriers to applying for and getting approved for a credit card. Here are some points that a lender will consider when assessing your credit card application.
Credit score: A bad credit score is not the be all and end all of your application, but it may stop you being approved for a higher credit limit. If your credit score is less than perfect, apply for the credit limit that you need, rather than the one you want.
Annual income: Most credit cards have minimum annual income requirements. Make sure you’re applying for a card where you meet the minimum.
Age & residency: You need to be at least 18 years old to apply for a credit card in Australia, and most require that you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident. However, there are some credit cards available to temporary residents.
There are two reasons you should check your credit rating: so you have a better understanding of your financial position, and so you can take action (if necessary) to improve your credit rating.
Lenders often use credit ratings or credit scores to assess loan applications. The higher your score, the more likely you are to get approved – and the more likely you are to be charged lower interest rates and lower fees. Conversely, the lower your credit score, the less likely you are to get approved – and the more likely you are to be charged higher interest rates and higher fees.
If you discover you have a substandard credit rating, there are nine steps you can take to improve it. Those steps include consolidating multiple debts, fixing errors on your credit file, making repayments on time, paying off loans and closing extra credit cards.
The credit card market changes all the time, so the credit card with the highest annual percentage rate is also liable to change.
One thing to remember is that credit card interest rates are expressed as a yearly rate, or annual percentage rate (APR). A low APR is generally good but also consider:
- There can be different APRs for each feature of the card (e.g. purchases may have an APR of 14 per cent, while cash advances on same card could have an APR of 17 per cent
- Credit cards with a variable rate can change throughout the year, affecting your APR, so check the full details
- If you pay your balance in full every month, having the lowest APR is not as important as the other fees associated with the card. However, if you carry a balance from month to month, then you want the lowest APR possible
Credit cards are a quick and convenient way to pay for items in store, online or over the phone. You can use a credit card as a cashless way to pay for goods or services, both locally and overseas. You can also use a credit card to make a cash advance, which gives you the flexibility to withdraw cash from your credit card account. Because a credit card uses the bank’s funds instead of your own, you will be charged interest on the money you spend – unless you pay off the entire debt within the interest-free period. If you pay the minimum monthly repayment, you will be charged interest. There are many different credit card options on the market, all offering different interest rates and reward options.