Higher Learning Shouldn't Mean Higher Bank Fees and Debt

by Angela Dzinas

A 2012 study by the Canadian University Survey Consortium found that almost nine in 10 Canadian undergraduate students have a credit card; and although the majority of students are managing their credit, a minority are carrying an average of unpaid balances equaling $3,444.

If you’re a student, credit cards can offer you convenience; however, unpaid and high balances can quickly become an inconvenience and a barrier to affording further education. Higher learning shouldn’t mean higher bank fees and debt!

Make the Honour Roll with these credit card tips!

  1. Beware of teaser rates

    Consider more than the teaser rate. Take a look at everything from the length of the initial rate, to what transactions are eligible, the interest rate after the teaser expires, and the fees associated with the credit card. Best advice – read the fine print and do your homework!

  2. Stick with one credit card

    It’s no secret, we’re all about the plastic; however, you only need one credit card to build credit. Too many can lead to temptation and increase the risk of financial problems later on.

  3. Pay in full and pay on time

    News flash! A credit card is not an additional source of income – keep it real! Pay it off in full each month or pay more than the minimum to save on interest costs, and PAY ON TIME. Late payments stay on your credit report for up to 7 years. It’s important because a poor credit rating may affect your ability to qualify for future credit for purchases like your first car, or it might prevent you from getting that great apartment or that perfect job.

  4. Avoid cash advances

    Unlike purchases, there is no grace period with cash advances and you start paying interest right away. If you’re in a jam then make sure that you pay it back as soon as you can.

  5. Shop around for the right card for you 

    Things to consider include: fees, interest rates, and how you plan to use your card. Shop around for the best rate and options.