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9 Expenses Your First Credit Card Can Help You With In College

February 29, 2020

Man with his dog

Starting college comes with many unknowns: different people, challenging lectures, and of course, new expenses. During this transition, having a credit card can help make managing new expenses a little easier. Some credit card issuers specialize in credit cards that are specifically for college students, such as 1st Financial Bank USA. Hear from 1FBUSA student credit cardholders themselves about how using their credit card helped them face their unknowns head on. Read 1st Financial Bank USA reviews below.

1. Textbooks

 Most college courses require students to purchase textbooks in order to properly participate in class. However, it's often surprising to learn just how expensive they can be. Even if you include textbooks in your budget, the cost or number of textbooks required may increase. If you need textbooks on short notice, you may not always have the necessary funds available. A student credit card can help if you find yourself in this kind of pickle.

“It made it very convenient and easy to pay for college textbooks online.” - Jeremy, 1FBUSA cardholder from TX

 

2. Tuition & Class Fees

When paying for your college tuition and fees, you will likely use a combination of financial aid, grants, scholarships, personal savings, or student loans. However, what do you do if all of your expenses aren't covered after you've exhausted those resources? When faced with an unplanned fee for a college course, a credit card can help you cover the extra cost.

“Assisted me by helping pay for extra class fees I needed without having to have money wired or transferred to me!” - Chase, 1FBUSA cardholder from MO

 

student filling up his car with gas

3. Gas

Gas costs can quickly add up, especially if you commute to and from school or have an off-campus job. Having a credit card can come in handy when you're in between paychecks but are in need of a full tank of gas. Once payday comes, pay your balance using your bank account, and you'll be on your way to good credit.

“My credit card helped me buy gas when I didn’t have the money for it right then. If not for my card, I wouldn’t have had gas to get back and forth to college.” - Randi, 1FBUSA cardholder from FL

 

4. Car Insurance & Repairs

Maintaining a vehicle can be expensive. Unfortunately, car repairs tend to make themselves known at the most inopportune times. If your car breaks down and you have a large bill to pay, a credit card may be able to save the day. Your credit card account may even be helpful for recurring car insurance payments.

“My credit card allowed me to pay my car insurance in full and on time.” - Brea, 1FBUSA cardholder from IN

 

5. Cell Phone Bills

A cell phone is a necessity for college students. If you are paying for your own cell phone bill, it may be smart to set up automated payments with your credit card. This will allow you to build your credit score. Always make sure to pay off your credit card balance so you don't fall behind.

“I was able to learn how to use a credit card to pay for my phone bill. Simple and easy.” - Kenzie, 1FBUSA cardholder from CA

 

6. Traveling Home

At times, it can be difficult to plan for travel expenses. There may be instances where you plan a trip far in advance or book a flight the day before you leave. No matter what the time frame, your credit card can assist with the costs. However, always take into consideration your credit limit, as some travel expenses may be too costly to use your credit card.

“I was able to get a last minute flight home during my Spring Break.” - Bailey, 1FBUSA cardholder from CA

student with her pet dog

7. Vet Bills

If you have a pet while in college, you know that it can be quite expensive at times. Many things could come up, such as an emergency vet visit, new medication, or surgery. Your pet expenses could also include basic needs, such as food, toys, or grooming. Read more on expected and unexpected pet expenses. Use your credit card to ensure that you can always take care of your pet, whether it is expected or unexpected.

“It was helpful to have my credit card when my puppy unexpectedly got sick and had to take a visit to the vet.” - Olivia, 1FBUSA cardholder from MA

 

8. Online Shopping

Online shopping is often a lot more convenient than going to a store. If you are a busy college student, you may find it even more difficult to make it to the store. Plus, when shopping online, you can often have your pick from an array of student discounts. Check out this list of student discounts to help you get started. If you are in need of some new clothes or a gift for a friend, don't be afraid to use your credit card.

“I was able to order gifts off a wedding registry online, as well as save money on a pair of pants because they were online only.” - Nicole, 1FBUSA cardholder from IL

 

9. Unforeseen Emergencies

Throughout college, you may find yourself facing emergencies that require a financial fix. For example, you may find yourself having car trouble or needing to take a sudden trip home. In addition, while you are in college, a large emergency fund isn't always plausible. Don't forget to be smart about your purchases, while a credit card is great for an emergency, you want to be able to pay off your credit card expenses later.

“I only use my new card for emergencies or when cash is low. I also purchased a Christmas gift. It’s easy to stay within your means when you stay on a budget. I’m glad I have this credit card to build my credit and ‘just in case’ moments.”

 

The 1FBUSA reviews shared above give a good look into how a credit card can be used. There are many expenses that a credit card can help with in college. However, before filling out a credit card application, make sure you understand how credit cards work. Applying for a credit card is one of the first steps you can take in achieving financial independence and building your credit history.

 

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