Building credit with each swipe

College is expensive. Whether commuters or residents, students spend a significant amount of money not only on tuition, but on books, food, clothing, transportation and housing.

So besides constantly asking parents for money or living off chips for a week, students can invest in a credit card which, with care, can become their best financial friend.

A credit card allows an individual to make purchases, which can be paid back within a specified grace period without interest. If however, the credit cannot be paid back on time (usually one month) interest is charged at a rate that is usually above 20 percent.

Having a credit card can help students accommodate a collegiate lifestyle while teaching them how to adjust to financial issues and methods of the real world.

Professor Elven Riley teaches a personal money management course which offers students the basics of how to manage their money. The 11 week, one credit class discusses budgeting, debt, contracts, insurance and managing a credit card. The in-class or online course can provide practical help to students, especially in the first couple of months after they graduate.

“Students should first get a debit card and when they have a full-time job then obtain a credit card,” Riley said. “They should start building credit by paying off their student loans consistently and as quickly as possible.”

Yet, there are a number of responsibilities which come with having a credit card.

According to Riley, students should print out and highlight the fees for “Over Draft,” and bounced checks.

According to assistant bursar Jackie Warren, only when students feel financially responsible should they apply for a credit card. But they should use it only when they know they can pay the full amount owed every month.

Nisha Desai can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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