Blog

Browse All Blog Topics

Why Credit Cards Don’t Deserve the Bad Rep

Aug 21, 2007

by Scholarships.com Staff

Depending on the hands it falls into, a credit card may serve as an ultra-convenient money stack, or it can—if I may be overly dramatic—lead to financial suicide. For those who can manage their expenses and pay their monthly balances in full, owning a credit card is a great idea. Walking around with large amounts of cash is dangerous, and buying online is quite a hassle a without a credit card. Emergencies that necessitate fast funding also come up, and when they do, a bit of debt pales in importance. As you probably know, building up a credit report is one of the biggest incentives for taking advantage of credit cards. Credit card companies know that many parents will take care of student debt, and they’re not shy about making application offers to students. Booths with pizza and t-shirt giveaways fill up campus corners and busy sidewalks on sunny days. According to CBS, the average student is offered eight credit cards during their first college semester—no job required. Once students graduate, they are less likely to receive financial backing from their parents. With new expenses and student loans kicking in, graduate fledglings are considered to be bigger liabilities to credit card companies. Ironically, just when credit cards become most important, they become most difficult to come by. Renting an apartment involves a credit check, as does taking out a car loan and a home mortgage. People with bare credit reports are big question marks to sellers, landlords and credit card companies. If there is little or no credit history on your report, you may find yourself staring at bigger bills or doorknockers. I’m not saying it’s impossible to make it without a credit card, but having one sure does help. Good track records with a national credit card such as Master Card, Visa, and Discover (lesser-known store cards may not contribute to credit ratings) give lenders some evidence of dependability. Unfortunately, many students have a hard time creating a positive track record, and therein lays the problem. Students frequently look to credit cards for tempting pick-me-ups and tuition aid. Don’t get me wrong, not all indebted students are shopoholics, but those who look to credit cards for financial aid might want to look elsewhere.

Scholarships, grants, jobs and less expensive student loans are a student’s best bet because late payments may hurt in more ways than one. They will show up on credit reports, result in $20-$25 late bank fees, and lead to increases in credit card penalty charges. If you handle your credit card wisely, you won’t need to worry much about penalties and annual percentage fees, but you should definitely shop around before applying. Search for a card with the lowest fixed annual percentage rate (APR). Numerous cards will start you off with a low APR but raise the rate after 6 months. Also, be on the lookout for standard annual fees. There are cards that charge standard usage fees, regardless of payment history. Look for those that don’t. Once you build a good payment history, you may receive credit card offers galore. Little cards with your school logos may arrive in your mailbox. Yes. That’s cute. Chase knows that you go to the University of Illinois, but you already have a card. Refrain from getting another one. According to the United Marketing Service (UCMS), the average Joe carries 2.8 credit cards in his wallet: don’t be Joe. When you apply for a new card or loan, a credit inquiry will be recorded on your report. The more inquiries are made, the lower your credit score. I know, just because you want a discount on American Eagle jeans does not mean that you will not pay your bill in full. Unfortunately, lenders may assume that credit inquiries suggest financial need—even if they don’t. If you can stay on top of your expenses and limit the number of credit cards you own, you should take advantage of college application offers. As long as you can control the card before it takes control of you, using a credit card can bring you one step closer to a secure financial future.

Going to college doesn't have to break the bank or saddle you with tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Check out the Scholarships.com free college scholarship search where you’ll discover you qualify for hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships in just a few minutes, then apply and win! It’s that easy!

Discuss

Share your thoughts and perhaps thousands of students will benefit from your unique insight on the subject!



If you can read this, don't touch the following fields


 

Most Shared Articles

While you can always increase your chances at landing a scholarship - increasing your community service and extracurricular involvement, having good grades and writing strong essays - winning one isn't always guaranteed...or can it be? According to TIME Money, one way to secure a scholarship is to apply to, and attend a college that guarantees its incoming class free college money. Here [...]

0 months ago 4 comments Read More

A burglar who targeted college apartments in Cobb County is now in jail after Kayla Mesar, a freshman university wrestler threatened and scared him off campus property.

The identified suspect, Amir Williams had allegedly broken into several other college apartments near Life University before entering Mesar's unit through a back unit where her mother had stood. Mesar, who was around [...]

0 months ago 2 comments Read More

In hopes of boosting the local economy, Tennessee state education officials spent roughly $1 million this past year in advertising enticing college dropouts to finish what they started.

The state's partnership with Tennessee Reconnect is just one of several comeback programs established to combat the "nearly 37 million working adolescents nationwide [that] have some college credits [...]

1 months ago 1 comments Read More

College can be expensive, and while some may rely on scholarships, grants, loans or their parents to foot the bill, one Jacksonville woman got creative and sold her urine and positive pregnancy tests on Craigslist for a little extra cash.

Why would anyone ever purchase positive pregnancy tests or urine? The three-months pregnant woman, who chose to remain anonymous, didn't really [...]

1 months ago 3 comments Read More

Teenagers aren't using drugs, alcohol, and tobacco as much as they used to, according to a new national study. Substance use rates have declined significantly and are at their lowest since the 1990s. Despite this trend, researchers caution that there is still high use of marijuana for a certain age group.

The Monitoring the Future study, conducted by U-M's Institute for Social [...]

1 months ago 7 comments Read More

Rather than basically give you 23 birds for the first 7 of the 12 days of Christmas, we've compiled a holiday list of scholarships yule adore...with a head start too! Check out these scholarships that'll last a few days after you enjoy the holidays:

NATA Business Scholarship

[...]

1 months ago 3 comments Read More

The mantle of "College President" is one that includes a lot of responsibility and scrutiny, but for some in the higher ranks, the lucrative pay makes it worth it. According to data released by The Chronicle of Higher Education, some private-college presidents have made over $5.4 million in a single year.

The average annual salary for full-time college/university presidents in 2014 [...]

1 months ago 2 comments Read More

Perhaps your 2017 New Year's Resolution is to earn more free college money - that's our goal for you! 2016 is now coming to an end, and so are these scholarship deadlines, so hurry and apply to these end-of-the-year awards while you still can!

Girls Who Illustrate Awesomeness Scholarship [...]
1 months ago 8 comments Read More

The incoming Trump administration could reverse President Obama's actions on college sexual assault, giving hope to those who claim their lives were destroyed by false rape claims. However, this raises concerns for some that perhaps those who have been victims of sexual assault and made legitimate reports may not get the protection they deserve.

Since 2011, colleges and universities [...]

2 months ago 5 comments Read More