Please Don’t Get an Alumni Credit Card


Go State! Sure, maybe while you’re attending university and watching their football games on the weekend.

But when it comes to your precious financials, you might want to keep them out of your wallet for good.

Don’t be fooled. When we’re talking about money, loyalty generally doesn’t pay. And secondly, you graduated. It’s time to grow up and throw away your old Ohio State t-shirt. I know it’s a lucky charm but you’re an adult now.

The bad news is the alumni association has your address, even if you move, and tend to always have your address no matter where you go. It’s kind of incredible how they track you.

This means you’ll probably receive all sorts of mailers, and eventually a cool credit card with your school’s logo on the front.

But if you take them up on their offer, chances are you learned nothing during the four or six years it took you to graduate.

Why? Because university credit cards are notoriously crappy. They might have annual fees, sky-high APR, or a poor rewards program (if any at all).

One alumni credit card I came across even rewards you with points for every dollar in interest you accrue! Are you kidding me? The last thing you want to do is carry a balance and pay interest.  Pay it off if you can!

They’re basically banking on your love of the university because they know there are always going to be much better offers out there.

You Probably Got Your First Credit Card on Campus

Let’s rewind for a moment. There’s a high probability you applied for your very first credit card on your college campus.

You know the booths they put out there in the quad with free t-shirts and Snickers bars used as bait.

Well, I’m hoping you learned something during your college years. Things like reading the fine print and shopping around. And while you’re at it, learning how credit cards work to avoid costly finance charges.

If you didn’t bother figuring all that out, maybe the alumni credit card is just the ticket for you. They may even throw in a new sweater you can proudly don on game day.

But I’m hoping you’re smarter than that, despite our lackluster education system that teaches kids and young adults very little about money.

I never learned about credit cards or anything else about personal finance in school. I had to learn as I went and deal with the many pitfalls encountered along the way.

So why would I want to stay loyal to my college and swipe with a credit card with poor terms to boot? That makes no sense.

Plus, as I mentioned, you’re an adult now, so no need to show everyone where you graduated from every time you purchase groceries or start a bar tab.

Besides, your school probably already made enough money off you, what with ridiculous tuition costs and the kickbacks they may have already received for your earlier credit cards.

Look for Something Better Than What the Alumni Association Is Offering

Most of the time, the best offers won’t come to you. Sure, there are targeted credit card offers that do arrive in the mail and they’re certainly worth a look.

But always compare the incoming offers to what’s out there as well. There’s a good chance you’ll do better by seeking out an offer instead of going with what falls in your lap (or out of your mailbox).

I highly doubt there is any alumni credit card in existence that has better terms than most other halfway decent credit cards.

These days, the BankAmericard Cash Rewards card seems to be the card of choice for universities. It’s not terrible, which makes me feel a little better, but it’s certainly not the best card out there, not by a long shot.

And let’s face it; you’re going to need a better rewards program to get out of all that debt.

By Colin Robertson

Colin created this blog after spending several years in a job that required him to scour credit reports on a daily basis. His goal is to help individuals better understand their credit and get the most out of credit cards.

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