Far too many college students shy away from credit cards.

In fact, only 33% of people between 18 and 29 even have one.

Yet, not having a credit card has serious implications for your financial future.

For one, without a credit card, you aren't developing a credit history, which means you're unlikely to get bank loans for a car or house and often unable to rent an apartment. Both a bank and a prospective landlord could very well deem you too risky without a known credit history. Plus, banks are reluctant to give credit cards to first-time users, which makes building credit history all the more difficult.

The solution? A secured credit card, available through all the major credit card companies, including Visa Inc. (V) , MasterCard Inc. (MA)  and Discover Financial Services (DFS) . This is a real credit card, with a security deposit, or balance, added before you can use it. It functions, in a sense, like a checking account in that you can spend only what's in your balance.

Of course, key to developing a credit history is using your credit card responsibly. That means paying off the balance in full every month, not just the minimum.

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