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Your Take: Should Students Get Credit Cards?

Posted By Jim On 05/01/2009 @ 7:43 am In Your Take | 52 Comments

One of the big debates in personal finance is whether a college student should get a credit card. On one side you have people who believe that credit cards are evil, credit cards prey on the financially weak, and credit cards will bleed you dry. On the other side, you have people who believe that credit cards are dangerous but can be a useful financial tool for the financially educated and fiscally prudent.

I personally find myself in the second group and I liken credit cards to fire. Use properly and you can keep yourself warm and cook food. Use it recklessly and you can burn down your house and kill someone.

The problem with credit cards is that it’s so easy to get into debt. You can get your instant gratification without any of the hard work involved and you don’t feel the pain for many many years. This is a recipe for disaster for a student because it’s unreasonable to expect them to use them responsibly in the midst of their greatest taste of freedom.

When I wrote about the best student credit cards [3] and listed some smart tips for college students, I understood the comments I got from people who said credit cards are evil and I was being irresponsible writing a post about them for college students. I wrote it because I think it’s better to educate someone than to shield and protect them.

What do you think? Should students get credit cards? Or should they avoid them like the plague?

(Photo: m00by [4])


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