As students graduate and head out into “the real world,” many of them begin to question whether they still need their student credit cards. While they may not like using a card that says “student” after they have graduated, are there any important differences between student cards and others? And at what point can students apply for a non-student card?
Student credit cards are varieties of standard credit cards, except they are offered to applicants with limited credit histories. In addition, these cards tend to have lower sign-up bonuses and less valuable rewards and benefits than the standard version of the same cards.
For example, the standard Discover it card is offered in a version with 14 months of interest-free financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, with a 3% balance transfer fee. On the other hand, the Discover it card for students offers only six months of interest-free financing. Likewise the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students offers new applicants 2,500 bonus points, while the standard version of the same card features 20,000 bonus points.
Should You Keep Your Student Card?
Once credit card users have been using a student card for at least a year, they maybe able to qualify for a non-student card. First, they should check their credit scores to ensure that they have the excellent credit needed to qualify for the most competitive standard cards. (They can check their credit scores for free at Credit.com.) Next, credit card users can search among the greater variety of credit cards that are not specifically targeted at students. For example, applicants might wish to find a card with a generous sign-up bonus, valuable benefits, or a longer promotional financing period.
On the other hand, some student cardholders might not be ready for a new card. These cardholders could be satisfied with the the features and benefits of their student card, or they might know that their credit has not improved to the point where they are certain they will be approved for a standard credit card. These credit card users may be better off focusing on improving their credit scores by controlling their spending, paying off their debt, and making sure that all of their bills are being paid on time.
So if you don’t care about the name “student” being on your card, and you are not trying to maximize the rewards and benefits offered by your credit cards, then you may be satisfied carrying your student card for a few more years. Besides, having more cards can create more complexity and more temptation to spend, which is not something that young adults should be looking for.
Otherwise, you might want to graduate from student cards to one of the standard cards out there.
More on Credit Cards:
- How Secured Cards Can Help Build Credit
- Tips for Paying Off Credit Card Debt
- How to Get a Credit Card With Bad Credit
At publishing time, the Discover it and Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students are offered through Credit.com product pages, and Credit.com is compensated if our users apply for and ultimately sign up for any of these cards. However, this relationship does not result in any preferential editorial treatment.
Note: It’s important to remember that interest rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products frequently change. As a result, rates, fees and terms for credit cards, loans and other financial products cited in these articles may have changed since the date of publication. Please be sure to verify current rates, fees and terms with credit card issuers, banks or other financial institutions directly.