Building Credit as a College Student

For young adults who choose to take the higher education route, college is a time for big changes. No longer will they have the regimented school schedule from their youth; classes at varied times, extracurriculars and Greek organizations, and part-time jobs all throw a wrench into the lives of young adults to prepare them for the real world. However, there’s one very important part of joining the real world in young adulthood – healthy finances and good credit. Managing your checking account, saving money, spending wisely, and building credit are vital tools as you get older and take on your first post graduate job.

If you’re a college student, there are a number of ways you can successfully build credit to get you started on the right path before you graduate. Here are a few tips:

Open your own checking account (if you haven’t already). 

There are a lot of college students who are fortunate to not have to work while they’re in school; these students tend to get an allowance from family for food and other necessities. If you fall into this category, opening your own checking account (that isn’t co-owned by your parents) is a great way to start off on the right foot. Polam’s checking accounts are designed for anyone, and can be especially beneficial for college students looking to start their financial future.

Apply for a credit card – and use it wisely. 

In order to start building credit, you have to demonstrate that you can use credit. Signing up for a credit card with a low interest rate and average-sized balance is a great way to start. A good way to build credit incrementally is to use the card for certain purchases – gas, shorter grocery trips, Starbucks – and pay off the balance in full every month. These small purchases won’t blow up your balance, and the full monthly payments will show a sign that you can pay off your credit on time. You can visit our website or one of Polam’s branches to learn more about our VISA cards that work for every lifestyle.

Pay your bills on time. 

Being late on your bills shows a red flag to creditors, and can damage your credit score in the long run if it becomes habitual. While you may not have a lot of bills to pay while you’re an undergrad and living on or near campus, that will likely change once you’ve graduated and are taking on more adult responsibilities. Getting into the habit of paying bills on time at an early age will benefit you in the long run. If you have any uncertainties regarding paying on time, set regular calendar alerts to remind yourself.