Home / Fall 2016 / Credit cards help and hurt: 18-year-olds should mind dangers of reckless spending

Credit cards help and hurt: 18-year-olds should mind dangers of reckless spending

Some students use credit cards too often. (Photo Credit: Julia Rodriguez/THE SPECTATOR)

Written by Cynthia Papailler, Staff Writer

College students quickly learn that college is a very expensive endeavor. Students are told that by the time they graduate they will be buried in debt from loans. Many college students complain about the lack of financial education they receive prior to coming to college. So when a credit card offer comes in the mail with their name on it, it’s hard to tell what the next step is.

Are 18 year-olds responsible enough for credit cards? Yes and no. It is never too early to learn about financial responsibility. Credit cards are a major key—ode to DJ Khaled—to transition into the world of adulthood. “Adulting” is hard enough and twice as hard without money. Young adults learn that they have to pay for books and that the refrigerator doesn’t magically fill itself.  Taking all of these factors into consideration, a credit card sounds appealing but there’s always a catch.

Credit needs to be paid back and if it isn’t paid back in time it collects interest and can lower a credit score. It is very important to keep a credit score as high as possible; this is what determines if someone can buy a car or home later on in life.

It’s been a while since I’ve been 18 years-old and I still feel clueless about credit cards. It’s hard to keep up with payments when students are worried about books, rent, gas and food. Yet, a credit card can be used to pay for all of those things. It’s hard to budget money, but according to Consolidatedcredit.com, it is best to start off with a checking account. With a checking account, new credit card users can learn how transactions and budgeting works. Also, a job would be very handy too and if students are unemployed perhaps their parents can come to the rescue.

It is best to use credit cards on gas or small everyday transactions to keep tabs on how much spending is done in a month. Set up a spending cap for credit cards based on how much you’d be able to pay back by the end of the month. Just because you have $500 or $1000 in credit doesn’t mean you have to spend all of that—spend what you can afford to pay back.

To determine whether an 18 year-old is ready for the responsibility of a credit card is entirely up to them. If they feel responsible enough to keep track of their expenses and when their bills are due, then they should go for it. Credit is a necessity in order to get by in this world. Seek out guidance and make sure to read what you sign up for before committing to a credit card.


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