Paper or Plastic: Should College Students Have a Credit Card?

Paper or Plastic: Should College Students Have a Credit Card?
If your high school graduate is headed off to college in the fall, you may be debating what the right answer to the timeless "paper or plastic" question is in terms of whether or not they should carry a credit card. However, for most students, the answer should be “paper over plastic” – as in paper money.
For some students though, having a credit card is a good way to start building credit early. If your child is financially responsible, consider letting them sign up for a credit card, but be sure to follow these tips to keep their use in check:
·         Do your research. Don't just sign up for the first card that you see. Instead, find a card with little to no annual fees and lower interest rates.
·         Keep it simple by only applying for one card. This will keep you from racking up large bills.
·         Charge only what you can afford to pay off each month or use the card only in case of an emergency.
·         Try to pay your bill before it’s due, so that you don't accidently end up paying a late fee or having a late payment added to your credit report.
·         Always keep copies of your receipts, so that you can check them against your bill for any mistakes. If you suspect an error or identity theft, contact your credit card company immediately.
When in doubt, it's better to not let your child sign up for a credit card if you don't think they are ready. While they may complain, they will be thanking you later when they don't have thousands of dollars of credit card debt in addition to their student loans!