A Letter to My College-Bound Daughter
You don't yet appreciate how important a good credit history is. When you graduate, your credit rating will be looked at by landlords, utility companies, cell phone providers, banks (if you buy or lease a car) and even employers. "The worst thing you can do is miss a payment," says Ellen Cannon, managing editor of BankRate.com. "That will damage your credit score, which is the basis of your financial life." Look for a low-rate student card with no annual fees, like CitimtvU Platinum Select Visa for College Students (0 percent interest for six months; 13.99 percent thereafter) or Blue Cash from American Express (0 percent interest for the first six months; then 8.99 percent to 15.99 percent depending on your credit history; and a cashback feature for purchases). I don't often get excited by a 0 percent introductory rate. But in this case it's a nice feature. You may charge more than you expect initially buying books and setting up your dorm room—and have to carry a balance for a month or two.