Should credit card offers to college students be accepted?

Article by R. Joseph Ritter, Jr. CFP® EA

As a young college student myself, I signed up for a credit card offer being made on campus. It turned out to be the card I kept for the longest period of time – from age 19 to 34.  It represents the credit card companies’ effort to brand their product at a young age and begin a relationship with what they hope will turn out to be a loyal borrower.

The real financial pitfall for young adults with credit cards is not fully understanding that their charges represent debt that must be paid back. With a high amount of student loan debt already, college students are graduating with unprecedented levels of debt, and it really should be cause for concern among parents and financial professionals alike.  Although a credit card is attractive as a tool to establish credit history and build a credit score, college students should be educated in wise use of credit cards before they agree to sign up.

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