Figuring out Student Finances

Having reliable finances in place is an integral part of studying. From rent bills and groceries to books needed for study, the life of a student has essential expenses so it makes sense to have finance in place as all the necessities can then be catered for.

Opening a bank account designed specifically for students is a good idea as you can take advantage of rates and benefits not always available with other ‘regular’ bank accounts, such as an interest free overdraft.

The benefits available with student accounts vary from bank to bank with some providers offering handy bonuses such as a National Union of Students (NUS) extra card which offers discount from an accolade of popular brands.

As most college and University courses are spread out over a few years it is unlikely you will have an upfront sum of money which can be used to pay for everything you need. A student credit card is a handy way to pay for day-to-day purchases and helps you to keep your budget under control. You will have an agreed credit limit and you can basically use your credit card to pay for goods in a similar way to a debit card.

Credit cards can be used worldwide which is particularly handy if you are planning to study abroad or fancy the idea of a gap year. Some providers offer commission-free foreign currency which is another useful bonus for globetrotting students.

Look out for student credit cards that offer up to 56 days interest-free credit on purchases as this gives you an optimum amount of time to settle any outstanding amounts. Having a favorable interest-free credit period means you can concentrate on your studies without having to worry about finances and helps you to spread the costs associated with student living.

As well as helping to manage your finances, a credit card can improve your credit rating. In order to have a credit rating in the first place you must demonstrate you are capable of sensibly managing borrowed finances. It is a common myth that not having a credit card or loan gives you a desirable credit rating. In reality, your credit score may not be determined until you actually use credit or lend money.

Boosting your credit rating can be done by using your credit card to make purchases and then paying at least the minimum balance off each month. Late or missed payments will negatively affect your credit rating so make sure you avoid these.

If you are thinking of opening a student credit card there are a few boxes to tick before applying. First and foremost you need to be aged over eighteen years old and you must also be resident in the United Kingdom in order to open a British bank account.