Third of students have student credit cards

27 August 2008 / by Rachael Stiles
The average student has almost £220 in credit card debt, according to research from Halifax, with more than a third of students possessing a credit card.

As students deal with higher tuition fees, living costs, and other expenses, they are increasingly turning to credit cards and overdrafts to make ends meet, with 37 per cent having student credit cards.

With an average of £255.50 on their student credit cards, female students are more likely to have higher credit card debt than their male peers, who have an average balance of £173.20 on theirs.

Students going to university in the Eastern or South Eastern regions of the UK are likely to have a higher credit card balance, averaging about £360 each, while those studying in the East Midlands have a much lower average debt of £129.50.

While student credit cards are popular, they are not as common as other financial products aimed at students, such as student loans (which are held by 80 per cent of students), or overdrafts (used by 64 per cent of students).

Rather than as a source of debt – whereby the student uses a credit card because they're short on cash – credit cards are often chosen for their functionality, Halifax's research found.

The Halifax survey asked thousands of students what they thought were the most important features that they look for in a credit card, and then designed the Halifax Student Credit Card according to the results.

As such, it offers free monthly text alerts reminding the cardholder of their balance and when payment is due, has a credit limit of £500 which can also be lowered to £100 if the cardholder chooses to limit the amount of credit available to them, charges no annual fee, offers interest free periods on purchases when the balance is cleared each month, and includes online protection against fraud.

"Our credit card is designed to help students stay in control of their finances." said Ken Stannard, head of Halifax Credit Cards.

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