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At Point Savvy, we constantly are comparing travel and reward credit cards, normally for those of us that are a bit more seasoned and credit established. With graduation season arriving, we started thinking about the new group of adults, soon to be leaving home and obtaining some independence – The College Student.
Undoubtedly, beginning your college life is a very empowering time for a young adult. Here at Point Savvy, we understand establishing good credit and learning to manage your finances is also an empowering time. One thing for sure, what you learn during college should help prepare you for a successful financial future.
There is a wealth of great online information regarding getting your first credit card. Our recommendation to each new collegiate adult is to visit Citi’s website for every newbie to the credit card arena. This link provides helpful, yet not overwhelming, advice for people from all walks of life, but especially for students who are new to the idea of credit.
With Citi’s website as a good starting point, Point Savvy followers know the following three highpoints will serve every college student well and will prove successful in the long run:
1.Track Your Spending. Use your credit card in place of cash, not in addition to it. Make sure that your credit card expenses don’t exceed your monthly budget, and check your balance online regularly.
2. Carry One Card. One important way to monitor your spending is to limit your use to one card. We recommend that you not only limit yourself to one card, but also make sure that your credit line is within your grasp. Credit card companies will be glad to lower or raise a credit line to a limit that’s comfortable to you. Just ask.
3. Monitor Your Credit. By subscribing to a free quarterly credit monitoring service, you will learn how your spending affects your credit and how you will become “creditworthy” in the future. Many banks provide this service to college students free of charge.
BEST CARD for the College Student
The Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students is the best card on the market for a college student to start on the right credit path. Once you spend $500 within the first ninety-days of receiving your card, Citi gives you a sign up bonus of 2,500 ThankYou® points. In other words, just by using your card for your semester essentials, you likely will have begun collecting your points.
During your semester, your local restaurants and entertainment locals will help you earn 2 ThankYou® points for every dollar spent. So when a weekend movie or a late night run to a local hot spot are on the calendar, you’ll earn twice the value for every dollar you spend. And if you are only running out to pick up a friend for a student session, you will still earn 1 ThankYou® point for every dollar spent elsewhere. From gas for a road trip to a replacement phone, your efforts will always be rewarded.
Better yet, all of these ThankYou points are easily redeemed for rewards such as cash back, gift cards, flights, Amazon purchases, and more. Plus, there is no annual fee and, an introductory APR of 0% for 7 months in case you need to make a larger purchase during a no-interest accrual time. Since your APR may increase up to either 13.99%, 18.99%, or 23.99 at the end of the 7 month introductory period, Point Savvy reminds its readers to “track your spending” and pay off your balances to avoid these higher rate interest fees.
The benefits of the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students.
Citi® Private Pass gives you privileged access to purchase tickets to concerts, sporting events and more even when they’re sold out to the general public. This is generally a benefit we see for a credit card from American Express that isn’t offered to students and where you pay a hefty annual fee. This is an incredible perk for a student credit card with no annual fee.
Personal Concierge Service is complimentary. This is a service where you can call and get information about local hotels, restaurants, entertainment and more.
Choose your payment due date that’s convenient for you. Late payments can run up to $35 so with this feature you are able to select a date that best suits your needs and you can avoid unnecessary fees.
Citi® Price Rewind helps you benefit from a lowest price guarantee. If an item you buy with the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students is found on a retailer’s website at a cheaper price within 60 days of purchase, you will be refunded the difference up to $300. This bonus has a maximum payout of $1,200 per year. So if you buy something as a holiday gift and it goes on sale, you can benefit by getting a refund on that item.
Why Point Savvy likes the ThankYou Preferred Card over other College Student Credit Cards.
There are a lot of different student credit card options out there. It’s time to compare, shop and select a credit card that best fits your needs.
Discover it® for Students
Students may prefer the Discover it® for Students if they want their spending rewards to be straight cash back. This card offers 5% back on purchases within certain rotating categories and 1% back on everything else. Rotating categories are a pain to manage but if you can remember to select your 5% category at the beginning of each quarter you’ll save on restaurants, movies, Amazon.com and more. Compared to the Citi ThankYou Card for College Students you won’t have the consistent 2% on restaurants year round and by the time you apply for this card, the restaurant 5% bonus category will be rotating to something else. With both cards, you’ll get 1% back on everything else you spend outside the bonus categories.
There is no sign up bonus with the Discover it® for Students card making the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students a much better choice with a 2,500 ThankYou points bonus. However, if you have a GPA of 3.0 or higher in a school year, you will receive an extra $20 in cash back (for up to 5 years). At the end of the first year, Discover it® for Students cardholders will get all of their cash back rewards doubled.
BankAmericard for Students
The BankAmericard Credit Card for Students does offer 0% APR for 18 billing cycles – that’s almost a year more than the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students. The rate after that is a variable 11.24% to 21.24%. If you need to make a purchase that you know will take some time to pay off, then the BankAmericard for Students is your best credit card choice.
Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One®
The Journey® Student Rewards from Capital One® offers a flat 1% cash back rate on all purchases and a 25% bonus on the cash back you earn each month, if you pay your credit card bill on time. You’ll be rewarded for paying your bills on time with 1.25% cash back along with building your credit score. The Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students yields higher value as long as at least 25% of your spending falls into entertainment and dining. If you study or travel abroad, the Journey Student Rewards from Capital One is a great card as it has no foreign transaction fees. With the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students you’ll pay an additional 3% foreign transaction fee whenever using your credit card outside of the United States.
The Journey’s credit tracker feature gives you the ability to check your credit score any time online, or view it on your monthly bills. This can be a great tool in increasing your FICO® score as you’re able to see how certain purchases or financial actions affect it.
The Citi ThankYou Preferred Credit Card for College Students is definitely worth it.
The card comes with no annual fee, and provides a decent overall value. The services offered by Citi also provide added incentive to sign up, if you are interested in attending shows and concerts that may otherwise be difficult to get into. To get the best value from this card, you should redeem your ThankYou points on travel and gift cards. We know that there are several other cards on the market that serve the college set. But, we believe that the Citi ThankYou Preferred Card for College Students offers young adults a solid first step towards financial independence and responsibility.
Citi ThankYou® Preferred Card for College Students
- Earn 2,500 bonus ThankYou® Points after spending $500 within the first 3 months of cardmembership.
- 2 ThankYou® Points per dollar spent on purchases for dining at restaurants and entertainment.
- 1 ThankYou® Point on other purchases.
- Points do not expire and earn unlimited Thank You Points with this card
- Redeem ThankYou Points for merchandise, travel rewards, gift cards, cash and more
- Travel with ease and enjoy global acceptance with Chip Technology
- No annual fee*
2,500 ThankYou Points
0% for 7 months on purchases