Q: Are instant approval student credit cards a good deal for college students and would it be a bad idea to supplement some college costs, such as textbooks with the help of one of these student credit cards?
A: As with all forms of student debt, be cautious about the amount and types of debt you are acquiring. College is expensive, and most cannot afford to attend college without the help of student loans, but you always want to be certain that you are making the best choices for your financial future.
Many “instant approval student credit cards” are in fact prepaid cards, which will not offer students the line of credit they are seeking. Credit card rates and limits, similar to private student loans are based on credit history, and are typically subjected to higher interest rates.
College students who need help paying for college should be maxing out all free money opportunities, such as scholarships and grants, followed by federal financial aid opportunities before considering credit cards or private student loans. Scholarships and grants will provided you with money for college which will not have to be repaid, and federal student loans offer the lowest interest rates and best repayment terms. For more options on reducing your college costs without going into high interest debt, see the “Saving and Reducing College Costs” section of our free eGuide: 89 Financial Aid for College Tips.