SLM Corporation (SLM), the publicly-traded corporation that deals mainly with student loans, commonly known as Sallie Mae, has introduced three (3) Mastercard credit facilities for college students and fresh college graduates with outstanding student loans.

Launch of the three new Matercard cash-back cards called Accelerate, Ignite and Evolve comes with a no annual fee and zero percent (0%) introductory offer. However, just like any credit card, student borrowers should carefully read the fine print before entangling themselves with additional financial obligations.

What the Fine Print Says about Sallie Mae’s New Credit Card for College Students

Students should take note that once the 1-year introductory period is over, the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) on outstanding credit card balances will range between 14.99% and 24.99%. The APR applicable depends on the creditworthiness of the student borrower. High credit scores will of course, qualify a credit card holder for lower APRs since a student borrower with high credit rating will not be assessed as “high risk;” as opposed to those with low credit scores.

Creditcards.com reports that the average APR on credit card borrowings is eighteen percent (18%).

Although the three new Sallie Mae student credit cards come with 1% to 1.25% cash-back rewards, the feature only encourages frequent, and sometimes, irresponsible credit spending.

To entice signing up for a new Sallie Mae credit card offering, a 25% cashback bonus will be awarded if an Accelerate or Ignite cardholder uses his or her credit card to pay-off any existing private or federal student loan. Signing up will also qualify a cardholder to a $10k promotional sweepstakes, which if won, will be applied as a payment to the winner’s outstanding student loan.

Are Sallie Mae’s Student Credit Cards a Good Thing?

According to financial analyst Ted Rossman of Creditcards.com,

“People can do better, but they certainly can do a lot worse.”

Whether it is Accelerate, ignite or Evolve, all credit purchases using these credit facilities, will be handled in the same way conventional credit cards operate. Full settlement of every credit card purchase on due date is best, because doing so prevents buildup of the outstanding balance on which the APR is compounded daily or monthly.

Paying minimum means paying only for the interest computed on outstanding credit purchases. As a rule, payments to settle a loan are first applied to interests, and only the excess will apply as payment to settle or reduce the principal balance. That being the case, a student’s credit card debt could balloon if he or she makes only minimum payments.