Credit cards have been the craze for the longest time now. Given its practicality and convenience of use, it has gained immense popularity in the market of cashless payments. However, people, especially students often cannot figure out how to keep good credit history. The key to keeping a good credit history is using the card properly and like it is meant to. This is a major problem affecting the younger population drastically. There is a high possibility to pile up a lot of card debt and miss timely payments since you lose track of it..
First-time card users, the majority of whom are students, fall into the same trap. Further mentioned below are 5 common mistakes that you must avoid making after you get student credit cards to ensure you have a good credit score.
Pile up too much debt to pay off each month- There have been many instances in the recent past where a person is still paying off credit card debts they stacked up during college. The main reason behind this is the naïve age of these college students. They misuse the student credit cards by buying items that they otherwise would not require or buy at all if they had the cash. Since money in a credit card is not tangible, sometimes people lose track of how much and on what they are spending. More so for students, it is easy to hike up their credit card debt given their free-spending ways. However, with the high-interest rates of these cards, the debt grows quickly and soon burdens the students.
Make only the minimum monthly payment- Making the minimum monthly payment on your student credit cards will not affect your credit score. However, if you are only making the minimum payment, it might increase the already existing debt on your card which further damages your credit score in the long run. This is because paying only the minimum monthly amount does very little to help reduce your overall card debt. When combined with the interest that adds up to your debt, minimum monthly payments can take you years of time along with hundreds of dollars to clear it.
Use credit cards as free money- This is one of the most severe mistakes students tend to make with their student credit cards. It is very unlikely for people to not overspend after getting their first credit card. The main reason behind this is because credit cash is not tangible and is never-ending. For instance, if you were only out with cash, it would naturally constrict you from spending more than required because you would run out of money, whereas with credit cards, that is not the case at all. This is why careful planning often disappears when we shift to credit cards.
Missing timely credit card payments- One thing that you must maintain is the dates of your credit card payments. The mistake of missing credit card payments can impact your credit score adversely. Payment not made in 30 days from its due date is considered a late payment, and a single late payment can cause your FICO credit score to plummet by more than 100 points. Along with this, it remains there on your credit reports for the next seven years.
Focus too much on rewards- Many students are often enticed by the reward pitches that the credit card companies make. However, to earn these rewards, many consumers end up spending more than they can afford to and along with interest, it becomes too much for them to pay off at the end of the month. What these users do not understand is that the huge interest rates applied can easily outweigh the cash back bonuses or reward points they have earned.
These are some of the most common mistakes a student should avoid while using their first credit card. The key to keeping a good credit score is spending only as much as you can afford and paying off those debts as soon as you can.