If you talk to college students, most of them know that they should get a credit a card and start building credit at some point. But there isn’t much consensus around when they should get a credit card and start building credit. As a result, most college students end up putting it off until it’s too late.
It’s far too common to hear people say that credit building isn’t something that you should concern yourself with until you’ve got a job or a steady income. But you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you’ve waited until you need credit to start building credit. Just because you don’t have an income doesn’t mean you should delay building your credit. College is often the best time to start so that you’re prepared for what comes next.
So when should you start building credit?
When it comes to building credit, there’s a good rule of thumb: the sooner, the better. Don’t wait for the sake of waiting. It’s no secret that money and personal finance can be uncomfortable topics, but you shouldn’t let that keep you from building for your financial future. Having your own line of credit with Fizz or a student credit card can make a huge difference in your life. Here are a few suggestions as to how you can get started.
1. Start when you turn 18
You can apply for your own credit card as soon as you turn 18, and having your own line of credit is the best way to boost your score. Even if you don’t have much income, there are cards out there that cater to students with limited income. Fizz doesn’t even check your credit or your income - instead, we give you a spending limit based on what you have in your bank account.
2. Start as soon as you get to college
Heading off to college is a big life milestone. It’s a special opportunity to be independent and it’s a great time to start building credit and learning about your personal finances. Fizz is designed specifically for college students, with tons of cash back offers on and around campus. And with daily Autopay, SafeFreeze, and our online resources, it’s easy to learn and stay on top of your finances. There are tons of student credit cards out there as well, but be wary of their fees and interest rates.
Learning about personal finance is a great way to get started. Fizz has tons of free online resources that are easy to read and share. The more you learn about your finances, the better prepared you’ll be for your future - and you’ll realize how important building credit really is. Whether you’re concerned with student loans, living with your friends, or even getting a job, learning about credit is the best way to find out just how important your credit score really is.
Don’t rely on your parents’ card
It’s all too common to hear college students talk about how they don’t need their own credit card because they use their parents’ card. But just being an authorized user on a parent’s credit card isn’t going to have the same credit building effect as using your own credit or Fizz card.
When you have your parents’ credit card with your name on it, you’re considered an authorized user. While this might make your score look high, lenders want to see that you’re capable of being responsible with your own line(s) of credit. So if you want to make sure that you can refinance your student loans or get an apartment with your friends, it’s important to build credit on your own as well - and Fizz is a great way to do exactly that. With Fizz, you get your own, unsecured line of credit for full credit building effect.
The bottom line
When it comes to building credit and getting a credit card, remember: the sooner, the better. That said, it’s never a bad time to start building credit and learning about your finances. Even if you don’t have a consistent income while you’re in college, using a credit or Fizz card is a great way to learn how to budget and manage money.
While student credit cards have historically been the only option for college students looking to build credit, Fizz is changing the game. With Fizz, you won’t have to worry about fees or interest rates. Instead, we link to your existing checking account to keep you from spending more than you have. With our daily Autopay and SafeFreeze features, it’s easy to keep yourself on top of your spending, and our resources are designed to help answer the most common and pressing questions you might have.
Sam is a Kenyon College alum and is head of content at Fizz. He's been a go to personal finance resource among his peers since getting his first credit card during his sophomore year of college. He hails from Washington, DC, loves all things aviation, and currently lives in Los Angeles.