The Peace Times

Should College Students Obtain Credit Cards?

Bundle of credit cards spread sparingly

Bundle of credit cards spread sparingly

Zhana Gooden

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Credit cards can be a blessing through the worst but a devil in disguise. While being in the hands of college students, it can make matters worse if not used responsibly.

For college students, we spend more time in the classroom rather than working while living paycheck-to-paycheck (if that) which sooner or later becomes a struggle when it comes to the basic essentials such as food or gas.

In situations like this, there’s always “plastic responsibility” to rely on. Credit cards have been around for quite some time now and although they have a reputation for being frowned upon, there are some advantages of obtaining a credit card especially for college students.

For college students, it’s been said that credit cards will benefit their overall financial future. Specifically, it helps college students with no credit establish credit which can definitely come in handy after graduation but prior to that, having credit can help one buy a car or get an apartment.

Other advantages of credit cards for college students include:

–          A great financial tool for teaching financial responsibility

–          Useful in emergency situations (ex. Car issues, food, gas)

–          Being responsible financially can result in a good credit score which can benefit you in the long run

–          Able to have the ability to manage student loans payments better

–          No interest when you sign up because you are a college student

–          Cashback/reward programs for certain credit card companies

Although listed above are advantages of having a credit card, what glitters isn’t always gold there are several disadvantages to having credit cards especially at a young age.

One disadvantage that many do not consider prior to obtaining this “plastic responsibility” is that the money you receive is what you are BORROWING; eventually you will have to pay it back and then some based on the interest rate.

Other disadvantages include:

–          Not paying your monthly payment on time can result in more interest along with collecting debt which can result into an ongoing situation throughout life as far as owing credit card lenders

–          If the credit limit is exceeded you’ll be penalized

–          Only plastic, you won’t be able to go to the ATM for cash unless you pay a fee which can potentially interfere with your interest rate

While the pros outweigh the cons of having a credit card as a college student, the big question is: Is it beneficial for college students to obtain this “plastic responsibility”?

Gary Dyer, a senior majoring in Liberal Studies thinks that the idea of having a credit card in college is a good thing.

You can build credit, practice money management and it can also help you in financial crunches. Credit cards helped me eat sometimes when I was in between paychecks and it also taught me responsibility. Building credit is good because it’ll help you owning or getting loans and such. So I’d definitely recommend students to get a credit card.

Known on the basketball court in the Hermann Gym, Tré McLean, a junior majoring in Psychology agrees with Dyer that college students should obtain a credit card but also states, “as long as you’re responsible with it, and have some source of income to pay for it.”

One other Psychology major, Amber Fox, a senior believes that there are both pros and cons to having a credit card and she also shared her own personal experience as an example:

“I would say that it depends on the college student and the limit of the credit card. As a college student, I did get approved for a credit card. Since my brother is in the navy I got one through navy federal and my limit was 1500 which I was very happy about! But when I got it, I was not very responsible with it and now it’s almost maxed out and it’s probably going to take me a very long time to pay it off!”

Although not being responsible with it in the beginning, she has learned it overtime.

“On the bright side, I do make payments on it every month and I’m never late. So I feel that in a way it’s good because it’s building my credit and shows that I do make my monthly payments on time so that will help me when I want to get a new car or apartment. Building good credit will prepare college students for the future and what adulthood brings having good credit will make things also easier”

While providing information about the pros and cons about obtaining a credit card, they can be a blessing and a curse! Whether you obtain it as a college student or as an adult, it’s beneficial to everyone when wanting to establish credit. But beware; it’s called “PLASTIC RESPONSIBILITY” for a reason!!

If planning on obtaining a credit card, you heard it from our Peace Pacers, BE RESPONSIBLE!

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Should College Students Obtain Credit Cards?