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The college years are typically a time of transition for young adults. While most college students are primarily focused on academic success, establishing a financial portfolio is just as important as education. Both components set the tone for adult life far beyond college.

According to, only 23% of college students were aware of their credit history which suggests the vast majority do not focus on building credit until after graduation. But there are many effective ways college students can build credit years before graduating which would likely give them a head start on their post-collegiate endeavors.

Secured Credit Card:

A secured card has multiple benefits for college students working to build credit. It is typically easier to obtain because it is backed with a security deposit. For example, the student would apply for the secured credit card and include a deposit for the credit limit amount that will be made available on the credit card. This amount is usually $200.00 depending on the type of secured credit card selected. With a secured card, you can spend just $10 worth of your available credit each month and build credit. The Capital One and DiscoverIt secured cards are likely the two best secured credit accounts available. Both report to all three credit bureaus on a monthly bases while allowing room for financial growth.

Not only will a secured card add a positive account to their credit reports, it will also help college students understand how to use credit responsibly.

Make Student Loans Beneficial:

Let’s face it. The vast majority of college students have student loans. More than 70% of college graduates are currently plagued with student loan debt but there is a way to use this debt to build credit. If possible, it would benefit college students to make payments while they are still in school. While forbearance does give college students the flexibility to forego making payments until after graduation, the loan will continue to accrue interest which means the balances will gradually increase. By making payments toward the principle while in college, not only will the loan amount be reduced by it will also allow the student to build a substantial, years-long payment history.

Add Credit Different Types Of Accounts To Create A Strong Credit Mix:

While credit cards are the most common way to establish credit, a college student could benefit from simply adding credit-building accounts. Companies like My Jeweler’s Club and offer credit accounts with higher credit limits predominantly used to build credit. With My Jeweler’s Club, consumers are required to purchase one item and pay it back over a period of six months. Everyone is typically approved for a $5,000 limit. Hutton Chase is relatively similar. The company operates like to Finger Hut and QVC. While nothing has to be purchased for consumers to receive the $1,500 credit line, this does require a monthly subscription fee of $50.00. In a nutshell, the creditor is being paid to report positive feedback to credit.

Although some college students may find it difficult to focus on their credit scores due to personal and academic obligations, credit building can be achieved with school being the dominant focus.

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