These days, millions of college students are finding it difficult to afford all the purchases they want or need to make, and as a result many are now trying to find credit cards to help them out. However, there experts debate over whether this is a good idea.
There are benefits and drawbacks to college kids getting credit cards of their own, and they should carefully consider whether it will help them. For instance, a credit card can help them establish their own borrowing history and give them a bit more financial independence, but if the account isn’t managed properly, it can also cause them many difficulties.
One of these problems is that most college kids take on large amounts of student loan debt, which does not affect them while they’re still in school, but can be a major hurdle to overcome upon graduation. Owing tens of thousands of dollars makes it difficult for recent graduates to get their financial footing under them, and adding credit card debt to that equation can often be problematic because of the comparatively large amounts of interest charges that can be racked up in a relatively short amount of time.
Of course, if a credit card account is properly managed, a college student can use it to their advantage. For instance, making small purchases and then taking the time to pay the balance back in full at the end of every month will help a young adult understand the value of making responsible use of their cards, and in doing so boost their credit score substantially. This will prove vital later in life, when they seek out new lines of credit and obtain more beneficial rates and fees as a result of their past good behavior.
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Fortunately for college kids, there are now laws in place that aim to protect them from taking on accounts they cannot afford — by requiring people under the age of 21 to either have an adult co-signer on their account, or provide proof that they can afford such a card on their own.