NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Credit concerns

Students weigh in on personal finance choices

When we were kids, we used to think that credit cards had unlimited money and questioned adults why we were denied of more tokens at Chuck E. Cheese or a stuffed animal we happen to fall in love with and just have to have it. As we become older, we realized that this is certainly not the case along with the thought of just another thing to worry about on our “adult” list of things to get done. The specials that credit cards publish really catch the average person’s eyes like rewards and cash back with 0 percent  interest for 6 months with no annual fees. As soon as we turn 18, we become a young adult, which means you carry on more and more responsibilities like possibly signing up for a credit card.

“By principle I feel like I should only purchase things if I have the physical amount on me as opposed to putting it off,”  NECC student David Greene states as well as many other students who have not signed up for a credit card. Greene also adds, “I have not yet signed up for a credit card and only have a debit card because I don’t like the idea of a credit card.” They can however be useful if you do your research and find one that fits all of your needs and is based off of your financial situation. NECC student Brianna Parker argues, “I think it helps to know how it all works and how to get the most of your credit cards.”

There are different ones that are specific to students as well like the Discover it Student Cash Back which includes rewards like 5 percent cash back and 1 percent unlimited cash back on all other purchases. Building credit when you are young however has its advantages. The best way would be to start out small by filling up your gas tank and paying for the dinner bill using the credit card. This way it is an easier bill to pay off instead of buying a first computer that maxes out your balance which can really put you in credit danger long term. “I don’t like how I wasn’t told the importance of credit prior to getting them” says NECC student Jens Reyes.

In high school, they never really prioritize the education in building credit or even how it works, you kind of have to just learn on your own and expect the best of it. Whether it is an unexpected car breakdown or medical bill, having a credit card can relieve the stress of instead rushing around trying to find the cash to pay for it. Parker argues, “I like that if you can’t afford something in the moment, but you know that you get paid in a couple days then you can use your credit card for now and then pay it off when you have the money,” ‘says Reyes.

There are many things that can go wrong with a credit card. For example, maxing out your credit card for a big purchase can really damage your credit score for years. Parker says, “I would probably change the fact that your credit score changes so easily. If I don’t use my credit card for a week it usually goes down a bit which is frustrating.” Any late payments as well can really screw up your credit, that is why some student credit cards allow a bigger time window to pay the balance monthly so there is no late fees for the first time paying off your bill which really reels students in. ​