Applying for Student Credit Cards Online
By: Larry Goldberg
If you’ve just made it to campus, one of the first things you might want to do is get a student credit card. After all, you no longer have Mom and Dad to turn to when you want to download some great music, join an online video rental service, or order a new rug for your dorm room. In order to do all of that, you’ll need a student credit card. The fastest way to get one is to apply for a credit card online, but there are a few things you should know before you do that.
First, before you do anything else, make sure you’re applying for the right student credit card. Take an inventory of your credit needs to begin this process. Do you want a card that you have to pay off in full every month? Do you want a card that offers you rewards like air miles or discounts to your favorite stores? Do you want a card that gives you cash back? Think about how you’ll use your card, whether or not you’ll pay it off at the end of the billing cycle, and what rewards you want, and you’ll have a better sense of the card you need. That’s essential, too, because applying for too many cards at once is not good for your credit score, making you less likely to obtain the student credit card you truly want.
The next thing you should do is find a safe online application form for the student credit card you wish to have. There are thousands of scam credit card sites out there, and you want to be sure the one you’re applying with is very real and offers you some measure of protection. Make sure the information you’ll be putting through is encrypted by SSL technology. If it is, you’ll see a tiny lock icon in the corner of your browser window. If you don’t see the lock, don’t fill out the application.
It’s also a great idea to sweep the computer you’re using for bugs or keystroke loggers before you fill out an online credit card application. Should someone be watching your every move on a computer with the help of a virus or a Trojan, transmitting your personal information could prove very dangerous and put you at risk of identity theft. You can sweep the computer using anti-virus or anti-spyware software programs, but if you’re downloading a program for the first time, it’s a really good idea to get a safe program. Lots of viruses out there actually pose as anti-virus software, so be careful. Read program reviews, forums, and message boards before you download anything.
After you’ve filled out an online credit card application, expect to receive a confirmation e-mail, and possibly an acceptance e-mail within minutes or hours of the application. Once you get your card number, do not give it out unless you’re using an encrypted site, and never offer it via e-mail, as many phishing scams pose as legitimate companies with requests.
Online credit card applications are a great and safe way to get your first student credit card, but make sure you follow these tips to avoid risking your identity.
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