Credit Cards for Graduates: What Happens to My Student Credit Card After Graduation?
Life after college graduation can be challenging, especially when it comes to money and credit. While your student loans may come with clear instructions on what to do once you leave campus, that isn’t always the case with your student credit card.
You may be wondering, now that you’ll be graduating: Can I simply keep using my student card, or do I replace it with a non-student credit card? (One thing you wouldn’t do is cancel it; more on that topic in a moment.)
If you’re feeling uncertain about your Student credit card or credit cards in general, you’re not alone. However it’s never too late to learn. Here’s what you need to know about credit cards for graduates as you start the next chapter of your story.
1. Can I keep my student credit card after I graduate?
It depends: Many lenders allow graduates to keep the same cards they had while they were in school, complete with their accompanying perks, including benefits and rewards. However, you should check with your card issuer.
With Discover, you keep the same card and the same great cash back benefits. The only thing that changes after Discover is notified of your graduation is how Discover’s system classifies your account — the “student” flag gets removed.
Whatever you do, don’t cancel your card when you leave school without exploring your options first. If your student card is your oldest card, canceling it could reduce the length of your credit history, which is a factor in your overall credit score.
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2. As a graduate, do I qualify for a higher credit limit?
Whether or not your graduation will qualify you for an increase in your available credit will depend, in large part, on your income. Student cards are usually issued with lower credit limits that reflect the higher risk students with no income or low income can pose to credit card issuers.
Now is a good time to look into potentially increasing your credit limit to help your student card graduate with you. Your credit card issuer will consider your updated information, including your new income and expenses, when calculating the appropriate credit limit on your credit card.
After you graduate, call your credit card provider to update your information. This includes:
- Your date of graduation
- Contact information
- Housing information (such as rent or mortgage payments)
Sharing this information allows your credit card issuer to consider you for a credit line increase, since your ability to pay increases with a higher income. You can also usually do this online or within your mobile app.
3. What happens to the perks I’ve already earned?
If you’ve been enjoying rewards as a perk of your student credit card and aren’t ready to redeem them, some credit card issuers allow you to transfer them to other cards. Call your credit card issuer to see if it offers this service.
You may not need to transfer your rewards. It may be possible to keep them until you’re ready to redeem them. For example, with the Discover it® Chrome for Students card, Cashback Bonus you earn never expires, and you can redeem it in many ways. And, if you don’t use your card for 18 months, or if it’s closed, your account will simply be credited with your Cashback Bonus balance.
4. What are my other credit card options?
Just because you can keep the credit card you had when you were a student doesn’t mean you should. There might be another card that’s better suited to your post-graduate needs and lifestyle.
Your credit card issuer can help you figure out the best credit card options for you after graduation. This could mean keeping your card in place “as is” or converting your student card to a similar or completely different card.
5. With so much changing, what stays the same?
Graduating from college brings so many changes to a student’s life. Yet, when it comes to your student credit card, many things stay the same. With Discover, for example, your rewards and perks likely won’t change.
Plus, using a credit card responsibly as a student is a habit you want to carry forward into your post-graduation life, to help build credit as you transition into the next phase of your life.
Continue to make your payments in full and on time. And, if you aren’t already doing so, take advantage of some of the useful email and text alerts available to Discover cardmembers, such as:
- Payment due
- Cash advance, balance transfer and transaction posted
- Transaction exceeds certain amount
- Credit card balance reaches a certain amount
These alerts can help you continue to manage your credit cards responsibly.
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As a college student, you may not realize the importance of building your credit history. That’s where a student credit card such as the Discover it® Chrome Student card can come in handy, offering both the ability to begin building responsible credit use habits, plus earning cash back on your purchases. Then, when you graduate, you don’t have to give up the card. Instead, contact Discover with your up-to-date personal information so you card can graduate with you.