6 Reasons Why You Shouldnt Get a Credit Card in College

Credit cards can be useful in college but not everyone should have one.

You see, some college students use credit cards as a way to pay for everything they want and get themselves into major credit card debt. Right now, the average undergrad carries $3,173 in credit card debt and the average senior will graduate with about $4,100 in credit card debt (Credit.com).

Here are 6 signs you shouldnt get a credit card while in college:

1. Do not get a credit card if you cant control your spending.
If youre not saving any money right now, a credit card can be very dangerous because it opens you up to a line of credit you might not be able to pay back quickly. Ask someone you trust (and who will be honest with you) if he or she thinks you would handle a credit card wisely. If youre not financially responsible, dont get a credit card. Youll just regret it.

2. Do not get a credit card if you think paying the minimum balance due is acceptable.
According to Sallie Mae, only 17% of college students are paying off their credit card bills in full each month. We all fall on hard times when were in college. There was a time in college when I didnt have money for food and necessities and had to rely on my credit card. That was a difficult time for me financially, but knew that paying the minimum balance was dangerous. I ended up taking a side job to get my debt paid off. If youre using a credit card, plan on paying the debt in full every month.

3. Do not get a credit card if youre not going to read through the terms and conditions.
Never sign-up for a credit card without reading through the terms and conditions. I know its boring and looks like legalese but read through the sections dealing with interest rates and penalties. Know in advance what penalties exist and when debts are due. Study it and call with any questions before signing-up. Spend the time to know what youre getting yourself into.

4. Do not get a credit card if youre planning to use it to pull cash out.
Credit card companies love when people use credit cards to pull cash out of ATMs. You see, there are often penalties attached for pulling out cash and they assign strict deadlines on when that money needs to be returned. And interest rates on cash out are brutal.

5. Do not get a credit card if youre planning on paying for things you dont need with money you dont have.
Getting a credit card doesnt mean you have a license to go buy all the things you want now. Thats not what a credit card is for. Treat a credit card like cash. If you dont have money for an item that you dont need, dont use a credit card. Look, most of us have student loans to pay for college. Dont add on additional debt for yourself with credit cards.

6. Do not get a credit card without understanding the impact it has on your credit score.
When you take on a credit card, youre immediately impacting your credit score whether for good or bad. Understand that revolving credit card debt can hurt your credit score if your utilization rate is over 30%. This means that if youre holding a balance of $400 on your card, and your credit limit is $1,000 youve reached the 40% mark and hurting your credit score.

You should also know that any missed payments can severely impact your credit score. So if you take on a credit card, pay off your debts quickly and on time. And make sure to never use over 30% of your available credit. You need a good credit score to help you get the best interest rates when buying a car, home or to show your future employer that youre responsible in paying off debts as agreed.

Be smart about how you use money and credit in college it impacts your financial future.