5 Credit Card Benefits Every College Student Must Have

By Christa Avampato. Last updated 12 December 2014. 0 comments

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College is a place for many firsts. One of these firsts is a first credit card. Since the Credit Card Act in 2009, many protections have been created to shield students from the dangers of credit cards. However, it's still necessary to enter into this new realm of financial responsibility with the tools and knowledge to start off on the right foot.

Parents and students should be looking for these credit card benefits to build a good credit history. The length of credit history is a large component of a credit score, so it's best to get started with healthy credit habits as soon as possible. (See also: Best Credit Cards for College Students)

1. Limited Credit Line With Room for Growth

Look for a credit card that has a low credit line (some can be as small as $500) that can grow over time if you make monthly payments on-time. Keeping a card for a long time will boost your credit score, so be picky about which credit card to sign up for first. (See also: How to Use Credit Cards to Your Improve Credit Score)

2. Strong Fraud Protection

While most cards carry strong fraud protection if the card is lost, stolen, or compromised, that's not true for every card. Make sure to seek out a card that offers it. Some credit cards will watch for suspicious activity and alert you immediately. Another way to monitor your account for fraudulent activity is to review your statements carefully. Make sure you recognize each of the transactions, and promptly contact your credit card issuer if you see a charge you did not authorize.

3. Payment Due Alerts

Many cards allow you set up a variety of alerts via text or email that let you know when a payment is almost due or you are nearing your card's credit limit. The payment reminders are especially important because it's easy to miss a payment date when you're busy (or just not used to paying bills). A late payment on a card negatively impacts your credit score, so take every advantage to make those payments on time.

4. Free Roadside Assistance

Whether you're driving an old car or you're driving a long distance to get home for the holidays, knowing you have roadside assistance provides peace of mind. Many credit cards carry this benefit (though often you must pay for any service charges if you need them.)

5. Cash-Back When and Where Students Need It Most

There are many options today when it comes to cash back rewards. You can have rewards automatically deposited into a savings account, redeemed for gift cards at specific retailers, or simply as a statement credit to help pay the bill. Decide what types of rewards would be most helpful. Then, seek out a card that offers the right redemption opportunities.

A rock solid start to your credit history is the basis for a bright financial future. Learning to use credit cards responsibly is the best way to achieve that.

What common credit card benefits have helped you? Please share in comments!

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