Students, graduating from high school, rarely gave a thought to building credit score and credit history. As the response was based on the credit rating of the applicant, no credit history acted as a deterrent to receiving instant approval credit cards. In time, few companies relaxed the rules and started approving students regardless of the credit history.
The applicant had to provide the given information which served as the basis for receiving a response:
- The student's name, age, date of birth, citizenship, home address, mailing address.
- Social Security Number.
- Details of the school where the student was enrolled.
- The checking account number assuming that the credit card would be used for overdraft protection.
Once the student received a positive response, he/she could fax a copy of the tuition receipt, dorm receipt, validated student identification card or some other proof of having enrolled in an accredited college or trade school.
It's important to note that a positive response did not mean that the person had been approved for the credit card. It just meant that the applicant had cleared the preliminary check with flying colors. In other words, a person could always try applying for the same credit card through the usual channels even after receiving a negative response.
In case the applicant was approved, the card would be mailed to the student within 5 to 7 business days. Since, credit card applications use secure SSL technology people could supply sensitive information without fearing breach of security.
Today, these cards have become difficult to come by, since lending requirements have been tightened to limit preventable defaults. Good credit rating has again become mandatory for instant approval. Despite the inaccessibility of student credit cards with instant approval feature, students have not lost much.
Since the Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights was signed onto law on 22 May '09, the average annual percentage rate (APR) on instant approval credit cards has increased, however, the average APR on student credit cards has fallen during the same period.
Students should still try and apply for credit cards, since a credit card is mandatory for building credit scores and credit history. In fact, secured credit cards may be better for students since there is no danger of going over the credit limit and getting stranded with over-the-limit fees.
People who were working prior to enrolling in college, are still eligible for instant approval credit cards. A good credit history coupled with the new credit card law will protect them from unnecessary interest rate hikes and ensure that the introductory APR offer is valid at least for a period of 6 months.