Even if you plan to never carry a balance, opening a credit card in college can pay off in many ways, both now and in the future. Still not convinced? Read on for six reasons why you should make credit work for you while in college:

1. Helps Establish an Early Relationship with Your Credit Card Company

What better time to start a new relationship with credit than when you’re in college? Getting to know your credit card company while you’re on the verge of adulthood can pay off in the long run — after all, one day you’ll graduate and want to apply for a higher credit card limit or a card with different benefits. Having a track record of being a good credit card customer that goes back to your college days may help.

2. Learn Good Credit Habits Using Credit Cards

Once you have a student credit card, it’s important to remember that this passport into the adult world comes with adult responsibilities. That’s right – you now have bills to pay, and with the possible exception of a cell phone bill, the student credit card bills you get in college are likely to be your first experience with budgeting and scheduling bill payments.

Using a credit card will require you to think ahead to your payment due date, and budget to make sure you have the money available to make at least the minimum payment every month.

3. Credit Cards May Strengthen Your Rental Application

One day, you’re going to have to move out of that college dorm, frat room, or sorority house. Whether you’re moving into an apartment to finish up your college years, or looking for your first “adult” apartment, a landlord may choose to do a credit check. Once again, a college credit card with a good track record of repayment may help identify you as a responsible young adult and potential good tenant, helping to strengthen your rental application.

4. Earn Rewards or Cash Back

Another way that having a credit card in college pays is by earning cash back, rewards, or points on purchases you make. While other benefits of having a student credit card may take a while to enjoy, the rewards you might earn can be enjoyed as soon as you’ve earned enough rewards to redeem them for something great.

5. Credit Cards Can Help You Deal With Emergencies

Parents of college students with credit cards may be comforted to know that their children can cover the costs of what they need to in times of emergency or crisis. Students can book flights home, pay for unexpected medical or dental expenses, or even rent a car with a credit card. This may be particularly reassuring for parents with students attending college far from home, as well as the students themselves.

6. Credit Score Tracking

Part of learning good credit management includes monitoring your credit score. Some student credit cards provide you with your credit score for free. This is a great way to keep an eye on where your credit stands.

A credit card can be much more than just a convenient way to pay for today’s college expenses. At the same time, it can provide peace of mind in emergencies, be a fun way to accumulate rewards and cash back, and be a useful tool to help college students establish life-long good financial habits.

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