It can be a daunting time for those leaving home for the first time and going to university. Suddenly, you’re the one who has to organize rent payments, food bills, book costs plus the famed social life of a student and it can be incredibly confusing for many.
A third of students admit to being financially unprepared for university living, while nine in ten have some form of credit outside of their student loan, new research from Experian Credit Expert has revealed.
Whether it be poor management of student loans, interest free over draft facilities or access to credit cards, many students find themselves relying on credit to pay for everyday living.
What many students don’t realise is how poor credit management could actually negatively impact future financial independence.
Top tips on what every student needs to know about credit:
1. How it all works
When you start using credit facilities, such as overdrafts, credit cards and even mobile phone contracts, information on how you manage these credit facilities will appear in your credit report. Your credit report will help lenders access your credit worthiness into the future based on how well you have managed credit over the last six years.
2. Building up a picture
When you apply for credit, your name and address will be checked against the electoral roll so that the lender can be sure that you are who you say you are and live where you say you live. Whatever you do, it is essential you register to vote somewhere, even at your parents’ home and give that exact address when you apply for credit.
3. Information about other people
Your credit history can only be linked to other people if you have a financial link with them. Paying the rent together doesn’t count, although you will be linked to people you share with if you put multiple names on a credit agreement such as an electricity bill.
4. Think before you borrow
If you are a student, you’ll probably take advantage of one of the special bank accounts on offer many of which include interest-free overdrafts, but remember that you will need to pay the money back when your course ends. Never go over your overdraft limit without permission from your bank. Always speak to your bank if you are struggling.
5. Don’t forget to budget
To build up a good credit history you must make all your payments on time. How you manage any credit you have now will affect your chance of getting credit in the future. So use credit wisely and budget to make sure you don’t spend too much.
In light of the findings and ahead of the new university term, Experian has launched the Credit Guide for Students and Young People, available for download at: www.experian.co.uk/students www.experian.co.uk/students
Watch our video feature with James Eder, Founder Studentbeans.com, and Julie Doleman from Experian to find out how this is affecting students.