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Choosing the Right Card: Credit vs. Debit

Aw nerds! Looks like this page may be out of date. Please visit NerdWallet’s How to Pick a Credit Card page for updated info.

Mastering your personal finances starts in your wallet. Knowing the difference between credit, debit, and prepaid cards can help you save money by avoiding fees and unnecessary charges. As a college student, you are likely already on a tight budget, so check out the resources below to help set you on the responsible path to financial independence.

 Starting With The Basics:



What is a Credit Card?

What is a Debit Card?

These two articles take a closer look at both credit and debit cards, arming you with all the information to use the cards wisely and avoid the fees and pitfalls.

How Do I Read a Schumer Box? (Infographic)

A Schumer box is a required disclosure of all the fees and rates associated with your card. Familiarizing yourself with this information can help you make informed decisions about which card(s) to choose.


Avoiding Fees:

The good news? Banks are eager to sign up students when they’re young in hopes of them remaining customers as they get older. The bad news? Not all accounts are created equal, and without the right knowledge you could choose a poor bank and be susceptible to fees. Check out these two articles for key insights on how to avoid fees when banking:

How Can I Avoid Checking Fees?

What Is An Overdraft Fee and How Can I Avoid It?


Building Your Credit Score:

Having a credit card when you are young is a great way to build credit history, as long as you do so responsibly and pay off your balances month-to-month. Check out this video to learn the basics about building your credit score the right way.


What is a Credit Score?

Mythbusters: Is carrying a balance month-to-month good for my credit score?


For additional Financial Literacy resources, be sure to check out our Financial Literacy Orientation.

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