Points for this activity were reversed because you removed the college from your Data Locker.
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Points for this activity were reversed because you removed data to start your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed data to start your College List.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed SAT or ACT scores from your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed application details from your Admissions Profile.
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Points for this activity were reversed because you removed your weighted GPA from your Admissions Profile.
Points for this activity were reversed because you removed data to complete your Admissions Profile.

5 Tips for Using Credit Cards Responsibly

Credit cards are not just for buying things. They can also help you build a good credit rating—if you use them responsibly. Here's how to start.

1. Pay the balance due each month by the due date.

Pay the balance due each month by the due date to avoid interest or pay at least the minimum payment due to avoid late fees. Resist the temptation to spend more than you can pay in any given month. Not "biting off more than you can chew" is the basis for credit card responsibility.

2. Avoid skipping payments.

Pay your bill every month on time. In those months in which you prefer to pay less than the balance, pay as much over the minimum payment due as you can and make sure the creditor receives it by the due date. If you can't increase your monthly payments or want to reduce your balance quickly, try to use your card less.

3. Use the card cautiously.

Especially at the beginning, use your credit card for necessary purchases only. Excessive spending may lead to monthly payments that are more than you can afford. Consider that one day you may need your credit card for an emergency situation. Monitor your purchases wisely and buy only those items you need, not want.

4. Use the credit card as a budgeting tool.

As you become more comfortable using and paying off your balance each month, try using your account as a budgeting tool. By checking your account activity online or through your monthly billing statements, you can see exactly how much you've spent at month end. If you're able to pay the balance due each month by the due date, you're on your way to becoming a responsible credit card user.

5. Protect yourself from credit card fraud.

Credit card fraud and theft are inherent risks of having a credit card, but the risks can be mitigated by your vigilance. Always report fraud or suspicious activity on your card immediately. Monitor your statements, whether online or paper. Report and replace lost or stolen cards immediately. Understand your credit card provider's security policy and the card's security features.

Information in this article is of a general nature. It is provided by CollegeData for educational purposes only and may not apply to you or your situation. Please consult a financial or legal advisor before acting on such information. CollegeData is a service of 1st Financial Bank USA.

What's Next?

For Students Age 18 and Older

Have you received a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit card?

Learn how to qualify for a Personal Invitation to apply for a Student Credit Card


1st Financial Bank believes students who pick colleges wisely will also want to learn how to use credit cards wisely.

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COLLEGEdata Dollars are
points you earn by
completing certain
COLLEGEdata activities

Ways to earn
COLLEGEdata Dollars:

  • Complete your Admissions Profile.
  • Add colleges to your College Choices.
  • Update your Admissions Statuses.
  • Use the College Match tool.

What are COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$)?

COLLEGEdata Dollars (CD$) are points you earn by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. The maximum number of CD$ you can redeem is 5000. Once you have earned at least 2500 CD$, you can redeem them for $25, which will be provided to you on a Loyalty Card, and once you earn another 2500 CD$, you can redeem those CD$ for a second $25, which will also be provided to you on a Loyalty Card.

Earn points and redeem them for
U.S. Dollars

Complete certain COLLEGEdata activities (for example, signing up, starting your Admissions Profile, searching for colleges, calculating your chances for admission, searching for scholarships, updating your Profile with your admission decisions). Each activity is worth a specific amount of points (CD$). You can redeem the points you earn for U.S. Dollars that will be issued to you in the form of a 1st Financial Bank USA Loyalty Mastercard®.

How do I earn COLLEGEdata Dollars?

You can earn CD$ by completing certain COLLEGEdata activities. As soon as you sign up and activate your COLLEGEdata account, explore COLLEGEdata and begin completing COLLEGEdata activities to earn points.

Here is a full list of COLLEGEdata activities for which you may earn CD$ and the number of CD$ you can earn by completing each activity.*

Activity
CD$
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+ CD$
You just earned COLLEGEdata Dollars!
Check your CD$ Dashboard at the bottom of the page to view your CD$ balance, find other activities that you can complete to earn CD$, and redeem the CD$ you have earned for U.S. Dollars.