Should College Students Use Credit Cards?

Soon, thousands of New Jersey teenagers will participate in an important rite of passage: they will head off to college and leave home for the first time. Their parents, in addition to adjusting to an emptier nest, will also have to face another major hurdle. They will have to decide whether and how to financially support their children through their college years.

Some parents feel it is better to have their children manage their own finances, usually by getting a debit or credit card. Others prefer to keep stricter control over their children’s spending.

Each option has its own pros and cons, and at the end of the day, it really comes down to a family decision. However, it is important to note that credit cards can be risky if they are not used properly. It is easy for students to quickly rack up unmanageable debts if they don’t understand how to use credit responsibly.

Students should be taught never to charge more than they can afford to pay off in a single month, except for in emergencies. They also need to remember to live like the poor college student they are – fancy clothes, nice electronics and regular dinners out should be considered out of the question.

Students cannot qualify for credit cards on their own until they are at least 21 years old. However, they can get a credit card if they have a qualified co-signer who can prove that they have sufficient income to pay the balance. It’s important for co-signers – who are usually the parents – to understand that they will be on the hook if the student fails to make the required payments.

The college years often set the track for the rest of a person’s life. By focusing on good financial habits now, parents can help their children avoid problems later in life.

Source: Daily Reporter, “Credit, debit or no card at all? Parents face choice as they prepare to send kids to college,” Dave Carpenter, July 11, 2012.

Related Posts: CARD Act helping consumers avoid, understand credit card fees, Stats point to signs of improvement in U.S. credit card debt, Keeping debt solution options in perspective, Can understanding credit cards can help people avoid debt?

We are here to help you.

Is this a New Jersey matter or Philadelphia Region matter?
We are licensed to practice in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Attorney Joel R. Spivack is an experienced bankruptcy and residential real estate transactions lawyer in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Clients come to us for legal services, but what we really provide is peace of mind. For more than 30 years, Attorney Spivack has helped people make wise, informed decisions about bankruptcy filings, debt relief options and residential real estate transactions.
Skip to content