Consumer 6: College Students and Credit Cards

Wednesday, October 18th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

College life is often the first step toward adulthood. Many young people are away from home for the first time. This newfound freedom means a new world of full of responsibilities. One of the most common and potentially hazardous responsibilities comes in the guise of a little plastic card.

Most credit card companies are targeting college students by direct mail campaigns. Many college students have limited funds which make them prime targets. "They're an easy way to get money when you don't have it,” said one student. “But the problem is if you have too much, you'll be spending too much."

"It's kind of a trap, I guess, to get students in debt,” said another student. “It definitely works, I think. It did for me at first. I learned a little bit about that between now and then." Parents can help young adults learn.
"I think it's real important to tell the children or young adults that they are going to be dealing with a lot of offers,” said financial expert Terry Cumbey. “They'll get to the college halls, and there will be signs all over the place. Take this credit card or take this one. The most important thing to remember is that it's not free money."

There are ways to compromise. You can also apply for a credit card that’s limited as to how much credit the student can use. It may be very comforting to a parent that the student has a $500 credit limit, so they won't go too far. Thus, the student will be able to graduate facing a future free of credit card debt.