Attack of the killer cards

Now that freshmen are coming to campus and students return from summer jobs, a slew of credit companies will no doubt be at the door and on the phone line.

Studies conducted in 2002 reported 70 to 93 percent of college students have had at least one credit card number while in college, a number much higher than previously thought.

Let’s face it, we’re easy targets as college students. Without the experience of paying bills and facing self-sufficient adult responsibilities, many students choose to add this responsibility.

It is true most students are responsible with their credit debts and pay them monthly, but at least one in 10 will default on their payments or have a credit debt of over $1,000.

Speaking from experience, the $1,000 debt line many researchers base their studies on can be approached faster than you think.

As a “super senior,” I’ve held a credit card for five years now. In that time, I’ve hit the credit limit twice, so far. I’ve defaulted at least three times and had my account shut down twice.I can still remember promising my parents I would only use my card for emergencies or when it was utterly necessary to use it. That idea went right out the door the day I decided I “needed” a DVD player.

Call it being immature or impulsive buying, but I generally find the things I put on my card are things I don’t need at the time. They’re things I want. This is where people get into trouble with their credit limit.

Adding one item you want just leads to adding more items you want because, what’s the difference in having $50 and $75 on your card?

Next thing you know, there’s $200 on your card, and you’re still paying the $20 minimum balance. So, I have a few suggestions.

If you decide to start a credit account, be sure the interest rate is fair. Know what will happen if you default. If you’re an impulse buyer, leave your card at home when you go shopping and you know you can’t afford it. Only put on the card what you can pay back at the end of the month, so you don’t rack up interest. If you do rack up a debt larger than you can pay in a month, don’t just make the minimum payment.

In the end, it’s probably better if you tell the credit companies to stuff it until you know you’re responsible enough to handle one.