Too many credit cards could be in trouble

DKS Editors

College students are constantly bombarded with financial options. Many stores constantly ask if these young people want to sign up for their credit card to save a percentage on that day’s purchase or to receive discounts toward future purchases. This sounds great because everyone likes to save money, especially college students.

The amount of cards offered may be harming young adults. As students try to establish and build their credit scores, it seems helpful to have a variety of cards to put smaller purchases on and pay off the minimum payment — the saying ‘more for less’ applies, temporarily anyway.

The long run is a different story. If someone plans to only pay off the minimum payment for several cards, years later, the actual amount of charges increase substantially. Everyone assumes they will have money when they graduate to pay them off, but things happen and it hardly runs that smoothly. Minimum payments increase, unexpected expenses happen and eventually, the bills get bigger and harder to pay.

The idea that students are going through a financial transition period doesn’t help their credit building either. Some may still be getting help from family, getting accounts in their name for the first time and paying off school. It’s important to only take on what they can handle. Even more importantly, students have to understand how much they will be capable of paying off after graduation.

To keep a good credit score students just have to be smart. Understanding how each credit card company operates before signing up or charging things can determine what their future scores can look like. A student who knows the amount a credit card company expects for minimum payments and how many credit cards he or she can afford to pay off sets the framework for the type of spender he or she will be in the future.

Paying more than the minimum, paying on time and only taking on as many bills as a student can handle will help in the future because creditors acknowledge good scores. They use this to determine what kind of borrower someone might be.

For students who have had a credit card for several years, it is beneficial to view their credit history. Websites like offer one free copy of three credit reporting agencies every 12 months.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.