University Credit Cards

Written by Jared Vincenti
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In addition to banks and credit card companies offering credit cards, many universities also offer credit cards. Any school large enough to merit its own bank or other financial institutions can offer a credit card but usually only to associates of the university and their immediate families. Since university credit cards are only offered to faculty, staff, and students of the school, they are usually issued through a credit union.

A credit union is different from a bank in that a credit union is owned and controlled by its members. Technically, then, the university is not issuing credit cards, but the credit union associated with the university does. Since a credit union must in some way limit its membership, only those who work for or go to the college can apply for accounts or credit cards through the union.

What Universities Have Credit Unions?

Nearly every public state university has its own credit union and associated credit cards. In addition, many large private institutions have their own credit cards. A credit union needs a large body of members to be able to issue credit, so university credit unions are usually only found at institutions with membership well into the thousands. It is impractical for smaller institutions to have credit unions.

If your university does not have a credit union, you can found one. The National Credit Union Administration authorizes all credit unions, as well as insuring their deposits. It is easier to start a credit union than, say, a bank--but while a bank exists to make money, a credit union's operations are entirely in the interests of the membership.

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