In the Zone

Building Credit For College Students

You need to build credit to rent, lease or own things. If you plan on purchasing a car or home one day, you’ll need to start building credit now. The better your credit, the less you will pay in interest over your lifetime.

Credit for college students can be checked when you

  • Obtain a student credit card
  • Apply for a private student loan
  • Look for college apartments
  • Purchase or lease a vehicle

Why Students Need a Co-signer

  • In most cases, your credit alone won’t get you approved for a private loan or an apartment lease. You’ll likely need a parent or relative to co-sign for you. Credit for college students isn’t just about finding a co-signer to bail you out of every situation. Your co-signer takes on considerable risk and responsibility each time they help you. A co-signer’s credit is also impacted by the debt they take on with you, so be mindful of how many times you ask someone to assist you.

Credit tips designed especially for college students

  • Open a student checking and savings account
  • Carefully select a student credit card
  • Start using your student credit card to make purchases, but don’t max out the card. Be sure to make payments, ideally in full, every month.
  • Cell phone, electricity, and cable bills that you pay every month (on-time) can help establish a positive credit history
  • Make sure you understand the payment obligations on all of your student loans for college. Your credit, and that of your co-signer, can be impacted if you don’t pay on-time.
  • Using credit responsibly is the best way to improve your credit score over time. Pay your bills on time and don’t overuse your credit lines. If you charge your credit cards up to the max, it can be seen as risky, and your score may drop. Late payments, judgments and bankruptcy all have a very negative effect on your credit, sometimes for very long periods of time.
How To Build Credit as a College Student