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On Your Side: Credit card warning for college students

Published: Aug. 18, 2020 at 5:49 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -The class of 2020 can now get credit cards as they start their college career.

Anna Daniel will be a freshman at Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. One thing she is not packing, is a credit card.

“The idea of spending money that I don’t have and having to pay it back honestly scares me,” she said.

Most college graduates walk across the stage in debt, to the tune of $30,000.

“The last thing you want to do is add more to that debt burden,” said Kenny Gott, with Piatchek and Associates.

He says it’s all about discipline.

“Only use your credit card for things you can already afford. Things you would be buying with cash if you didn’t have the credit card,” said Gott.

Credit card companies offer incentives for college students like ‘no interest’ for six months. Gott says be careful.

“A zero percent interest offer sounds like free money. What could possibly go wrong? You know how to get zero percent interest? Pay it off at the end of each month,” he said.

To stay on track, only get one card with a low limit. Signup for purchase alerts.

Here are ways to build credit without using a credit card.

Get a secured card.

It requires a cash deposit. The issuer reports your activity to the credit bureaus.

Become an authorized user.

Ask a family member or significant other to add you.

Get credit for the bills you pay.

Rent-reporting services take a bill you are already paying and put it on your credit report.

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