Mississippi students gear up for college with credit cards

It is the start of fall, which marks the beginning of another academic school year. For some Mississippians it is back to school, while for others it is the start of an entirely new school adventure: college. Planning for college comes with many considerations, ranging from college decisions to school supplies to possible financial challenges.

One financial consideration that may seem minor during the initial planning process, but which can have major future implications is credit card debt. Therefore, Mississippi college students should begin thinking about credit cards early on in their academic careers.

A recent article examined the different credit cards for which college students and their parents should consider applying. One option is a joint account: parents can add their child to their existing account with a credit card company to extend their credit benefits to their new college student. By establishing a joint account or adding their child to their account, parents can help their child avoid the difficulties of securing a card if the child has no credit history and quickly build credit. Another option is a secured card: a student borrows against money he has, which is the card limit. This card helps prevent against quick credit card debt that may arise in situations where a young adult is given a credit card with a high credit limit.

Ultimately, the driving force behind these different options is the law concerning credit cards and young adults. The CARD act makes it very difficult for a young adult who is entering college to obtain a credit card on his or her own. The intentions of the law are good -- it is designed to thwart credit card companies from preying on naïve college students.

The consequences of the law, however, can make finances a struggle for young adults. Those who do not have a steady provable income cannot qualify for a credit card and begin to build a credit history in order to make their financial future brighter.

Luckily, there are ways to maneuver around the law. Joint accounts and other credit card options can help students secure credit cards and work toward a healthy financial future.

Source: Daily Finance, "Which Credit Card Should You Get for Your College Student?," Matt Brownell, Oct. 2, 2013

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