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Q: I’m a college student, and I’d like to apply for a credit card. What kind of credit score will I need to qualify for a student credit card?
A: This answer might not be too satisfying, but here it goes: It depends.
It really does depend. Certain credit card issuers will want higher credit scores than will others.
But here’s the good news: Student credit cards are designed specifically for college students and their usually short credit histories. Most people know that late payments, missed payments and bankruptcy filings can devastate a three-digit credit score. Most college students don’t have these problems. However, credit scores can be low, too, for consumers who don’t have a long credit history. And most college students don’t have many years of paying credit card bills behind them. They haven’t had time to build up a reliable credit history.
Because of this, they often have low scores. The companies issuing student credit cards know this. That’s why they take steps to protect themselves. Most college credit cards come with purchase interest rates that are on the high side; this offers card issuers some financial protection in case you don’t pay your bill on time each month. Other college credit cards require that you sign up for your account with a co-signer, usually a parent. This way, if you rack up large amounts of debt and then skip out on your bills, your credit card issuer can go after your co-signer.