What are some of the most frequently asked questions about student credit cards?

If you’re off to college for the first time, you may have some questions about student credit cards. Below, find some of the frequently asked questions and answers to help you take the right steps with credit.

How is a student credit card different from any other credit card?

The advantages of a student credit card include financial education and resources, support from your issuer with payment options via alerts and reminders, and rewards geared towards students. Some offer additional rewards for paying on time or getting good grades. For example, the Discover it® Chrome Student card offers 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter.

What is the credit card offer I received in the mail?

Credit card offers come as pre-screened and invitation to apply. Pre-screened offers may be sent to consumers who are 21 or older, and they indicate that the card issuer has done a basic credit check, found that you meet certain criteria, and would be approved for the card if your credit profile remains the same and you meet income and other relevant application requirements.

An invitation to apply means they are providing details about the card and are inviting you to apply.

Can I apply for a student credit card over the phone or online?

You can apply for a student credit card online or by mail if you’re at least 18 years old. To apply for a student credit card over the phone, you must be at least 21.

Do I need a co-applicant on my student credit card?

If you are creditworthy on your own, issuers may not require a co-applicant. Discover does not take co-applicants (sometimes known as co-signers) on credit card applications.

When do I make a payment on my credit card?

Your payment is due on the date indicated on your statement, which is generally around the same day every month. If you are still unsure, call the customer service number on your card or log in to your online account to see when your next payment is due.

Will I pay interest on my card balance?          

After you begin making purchases with your student credit card, you’ll receive a statement with your total balance. If you pay the balance in full by the due date on your statement each month, you won’t have to pay any interest charges on purchases. If you pay less than the full amount, you’ll be charged interest on the remaining balance based on your Annual Percentage Rate and the terms of your card. In order to avoid interest charges, you would want to use your card for purchases you can afford and pay them back in full by the payment due date each month.

Why should I care about building a credit history?

After college, you may want to apply for a car loan or an apartment lease. Both often require a check on your credit history, in which the lender assesses your creditworthiness and repayment risk. One of the common factors in credit scores is the length of time you have had lines of credit. Responsibly using a student credit card while in school can help you establish a credit history that opens these doors for you later on.

Do I have to spend a lot of money on my student credit card to establish a credit history?

No, you don’t need to charge and pay off big purchases to establish credit. You can establish a credit history by making small purchases and then paying them off on time each month.

Once I get my credit card in the mail, what should I do?

You’re all set to activate your new card. You can do so by calling the phone number on the back of the card. You may also consider setting up the online account portal offered by your issuer in order to more frequently check on your account, make payments, and set up alerts.

How do I get rewards for using my credit card?

If you are a student with a Discover it® Chrome Student card, there is no sign-up to earn 2% cash back at gas stations and restaurants on up to $1,000 in combined purchases each quarter. Another option is the Discover it® Student card, may offer 5% cash back at different places each quarter like gas stations, grocery stores, restaurants, Amazon.com, or wholesale clubs up to the quarterly maximum each time you activate. Discover it Chrome and Discover it cardmembers earn 1% cash back on all other purchases.

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