Credit or debit? What is the difference?
Debit cards are connected to your bank account. There are usually low fees and they don’t charge interest to use the money. If you spend too much on your debit card, the bank may charge overdraft fees. Consult with your bank to understand the fees associated with excessive writing and the protections they offer against it.
Compare banks and credit unions. You are their consumer. Examine the fees for the type of account and the expectations to compare financial institutions. Decide which one suits you best and open your checking account there. Considerations include fees, access to online bill payment, ATM locations, branches, and any multi-account discounts. Many financial institutions waive account fees for students.
Credit cards are short-term loans. A financial institution, such as Visa or American Express, grants you a line of credit. You can use the credit card to make purchases and at the end of the cycle pay your bill. If you pay your bill in full each month, you will not be charged interest. Anything not paid after that will incur interest.
Learn more about how credit card.
It is always important to consider the pros and cons of having a credit card. Be sure to consider your budget and whether a credit card will encourage you to overspend.
Compare the prices! Just like debit cards, you can shop around for the annual percentage rate, fees, rewards, and more. They want your business because you are their consumer. Shop around for the best card for you. Be sure to read the terms and conditions of your credit card. Learn more about terms and conditions.
Reflect the budget discussion on needs and wants. Is online shopping or dining a need or a want?
How can you reduce your credit card spending to reflect life as a college student?
Credit cards use rewards and incentives to encourage you to use their card. Take a moment to think about credit card interest rates before using one.
Be a responsible borrower by tracking what you have borrowed. MUSC will send you college cost analysis reports during the fall and spring semesters via your school’s email. This will help you understand how much you have taken out in student loans and what it will cost you once you leave MUSC. When you see the expected payment, use your budget to adjust your spending.
Spend less on your needs and want to reduce the amount to take out in student loans. For example, could you live a little further to reduce your housing costs? Could you sell your car and use the bus system here? Yes, it may be a small sacrifice now, but the benefit of smaller student loans can make up for that sacrifice.