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International students making online purchase with credit card

Should International Students Apply For A Credit Card?

July 27, 2016

With many students sacrificing full time work in order to study and develop their skills, it’s easy to see why so many struggle for money at university. \r\n\r\nQuite often, Government funding and university scholarships only cover part of your expenditure, so students do consider getting credit cards during their time at university to make it easier to purchase the things they need. In this post we’ll look at the benefits of using students credit cards and explain the reasons why it’s important to keep a close eye on your finances while at university. \r\n\r\n

Can students get credit cards?

\r\n\r\nNot all banks in the UK are willing to offer credit cards to students, but some banks have cards designed specifically for those at university. These cards are likely to have a strict limit on them to prevent you borrowing more than you can afford to repay. After all, if you don’t have a job, making repayments on a large amount can be extremely difficult. \r\n\r\n

How can I find the best credit cards for international students?

\r\n\r\nTo find the best credit cards for international students, make sure you do plenty of research and read the terms and conditions of any application carefully. It’s important that you’re aware of the interest rates and any fees and charges you’ll be expected to pay.\r\n\r\nSome international students in the UK choose to apply for a credit card from their home country before they travel. If you decide to do this, find out whether your card is valid in major UK retailers before you send off your credit card application. Also check with the credit card company to see if you’ll face extra fees and charges for using your card abroad. \r\n\r\nAlternatively, there are international banks such as American Express and MasterCard whose cards can be used all over the world. However, not all retailers accept them so this is something to check before you travel. \r\n\r\n

What are the benefits of using student credit cards?

\r\n\r\nIn the UK, credit card purchases offer more protection than debit cards thanks to Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act. If you purchase something using your credit card and it’s lost, damaged or stolen, you may be able to claim a refund from your credit card provider if the retailer refuses. \r\n\r\nCredit cards can also protect you in the event that the company you buy from goes into administration. For example, if you were to pay for a holiday on your credit card only for the company to collapse before you travel, your credit card company will usually be liable for any money you lose. This type of protection applies to purchases above £100 and below £30,000.\r\n\r\nHaving a credit card can also be a great way of building your credit rating over time. By improving your credit rating you can prove to banks and lenders that you are a responsible borrower with the ability to repay money on time. If you’d like to buy your own home in the future, a strong credit rating is a necessity in order to obtain a mortgage. \r\n\r\n

Are there any risks involved when using a credit card as a student?

\r\n\r\nIf you fall behind on repayments, this could have a negative impact on your credit rating and may make it harder for you to take out large loans and even purchase your own home in the future.\r\nFailing to repay the money that you owe could also see interest accrue on your account over time. As interest increases, you may find it even harder to repay the credit card company. \r\n\r\nIf you’re unable to work in the UK while studying, ask yourself whether you’ll be able to make the necessary repayments. Will a family member be able to help you? Will you repay it when you receive loans? Will you repay it when you do get a job? These are very important questions to ask yourself to make sure you’re debts won’t spiral out of control. \r\n\r\nIf you’d like to know more about studying in the UK as an international student, please get in touch with the team at IEC Abroad. We can help you find the perfect course and university for you while also giving you guidance on your finances during your time in the UK.\r\n\r\n