With countless credit card companies recruiting Fresno State students, it can be overwhelming trying to distinguish one from another.
But for students already faced with credit card debt, high interest rates and increased minimum payments are nothing new.
CreditCardClients.com, an independent credit card research company, recently launched a free online tool to help students free themselves of the headache of debt. The tool, called the Students Savings Agent, recommends different credit card options after evaluating the userâ€™s level of debt.
â€œThe new Student Savings Agent is a valuable tool for students, who often donâ€™t know what they should be looking for in a credit card,â€ said Anne Barry, a public relations and marketing assistant for CreditCardClients.com. â€œThe tool takes the hassle out of doing the research and comparisons.â€
The top 10 credit cards are profiled on the Web site and recommendations are based on each individual credit profile, Barry said. The tool calculates the amount of savings over a span of one and two years.
No credit card numbers or any such personal information is needed to use the Student Savings Agent. Instead, users input the kind of card they have, the interest rate and their average monthly payments.
After taking only minutes to complete, one 22-year-old Fresno State student found the tool both helpful and easy to use.
â€œThe Web site was really easy to use and understand,â€ said accounting major Melissa Perry. â€œIt suggested I switch from my store credit card to a Bank of America Visa Platinum Plus card, because I would qualify for cash back rewards.â€
Perry said other students should take the time to research credit options using Student Savings Agent before signing up for a new card.
â€œStudents should care what cards they sign up for,â€ Perry said. â€œAs a freshman, I made the mistake of signing up for store credit cards because of the first-time discounts. Now I realize I could earn other rewards and cash back on a continuous basis.â€
Elizabeth Shields, a professor in the Finance and Business Law Department, said students such as Perry are not alone when it comes to misconceptions about credit and debt.
â€œI find that students think that paying the minimum monthly payment on a credit card bill is OK, feeling pressured to keep up with their friendsâ€™ spending,â€ Shields said.
After looking at the Student Savings Agent, Shields was left seeking a bit more information.
â€œIt seems fine as an initial screening tool,â€ Shields said.
â€œHowever, it gives limited information beyond the introductory period and introductory APR [annual percentage rate].â€
CreditCardClients.com President Ziv Yirmiyahu said the goal of his company in creating the Savings Agent is to â€œbreak down the complexity of the details and calculations and offer a viable, simple and free solution to a consumerâ€™s debt.
â€œIt is easy to be tempted by friendly credit card salespeople offering you a free T-shirt and other gifts in the first week of school, but most likely they are not offering the best card for your needs,â€ Yirmiyahu said.
Where to go
The Student Savings Agent can be found at www.creditcardclients.com/student-savings-agent.
Through this Web site, users can access the application for individual credit cards recommended by the tool, including, but not limited to: