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Student credit cards

Without a fixed permanent income to declare, you are unlikely to be able to get any of the more attractive credit card offers which are available to the general public. However, most student banks will issue you with a credit card linked to your current account. The following banks also issue credit cards as stand-alone products without you needing to bank with them: Barclaycard, Bank of Scotland Credit Card and Capital One UK.

Be aware that interest rates offered on student credit cards are nothing like as attractive as those offered for student overdrafts, or by the Student Loans Company. Typically, annual interest rates are similar to those offered to all other holders of such credit cards, with only Natwest offering a lower APR for students during a 6 month introductory period.

However, if your borrowing need is genuinely short term, and you have a clear plan of action to repay the balance in full within a short space of time (no more than three months), then the interest rate is not such a major issue, and credit cards can offer you convenient source of additional funds. Remember that you cannot use plastic to pay for certain major expenses such as rent without making an expensive cash advance. If you find yourself making regular cash advances on your credit cards, then the alarm bells should be ringing, and it may well be time to book yourself in for a serious chat with someone who can offer impartial budgeting advice to you.

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