A Plastic in Every Pot

Do Students Need a Credit Card?

The many uses of credit cards come from the priorities of the user. However, in spite of their advantages, credit cards must be used with an air of caution and responsibility. In the case of students, do they need credit cards? Again, it depends.

Regardless of your situation as a student, it is vitally important that you begin to build up your credit so that when the time comes when you will inevitably need to take out a loan, be it for furthering your education or leasing a car, your credit will be good enough to warrant both. This build up can be achieved by using your credit cards on small items and then subsequently paying off the balance as quickly as possible.

Do not, however, fall into the trap of believing that credit cap is a spending maximum – it is not. It is simply the maximum amount of money you can charge to your account. It must all be paid back in full and in a timely fashion. Too many students fall into this trap, leading them down the road of financial instability. Under no circumstances should you use your credit card for items that you cannot afford.

Your circumstances better determine how much you should use a credit card. If you and your family are not in the best financial situation imaginable (do not fret, you are not alone in this time in the country), a credit card might be an okay idea. Again, try your hardest not to pay for things with money you simply do not have. Choose leasing options and buy within your means. If you manage to get through college with some debt, it is not abnormal. What matters is how quickly that debt gets paid off – and how it does.

If your circumstances are a little better financially, a credit card is still needed in order to improve your credit as described above.

If used responsibly and within your means, a credit card can be a safe way for students to build their credit. However, it should not be used as a one-way ticket to limitless spending.


Note: The Credit CARD Act places additional restrictions on adults under age 21 that make it harder to qualify for a credit card account. Unless the applicant can prove they earn enough income to repay debt incurred on the account, they must have a cosigner to guarantee the account.

Chris Buchheit

Chris Buchheit

Chris Buchheit was born under the hot Floridian sun during some year in the 1980s. There he studied school matters until moving to North Carolina in 1999. Possibly due to the fact that his mom had enough of him being inside all the time, he quickly got involved in community affairs via the Boy Scouts of America, where he learned the values of citizenship, morality, duty to God and country, and that the biggest kids get to boss around the smaller ones. Chris attained the rank of Eagle Scout in 2004, and still values the rank as one of his proudest achievements. Beginning in 2006, Chris began attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he quickly learned the value of basketball and poplar trees. Since attending UNC, Chris has been double majoring in Asian Studies, with a concentration in Chinese, and Political Science. When he isn’t slaving over his honors thesis, looking up a bunch of Chinese Characters, volunteering, or mindlessly browsing the same websites over and over, Chris enjoys writing short stories and novels. Much to his roommates’ annoyance, he also spends his free time learning to play the guitar. Above all else, though, Chris values God, his family, and his friends. For the future, Chris plans to apply to Georgetown to further his studies in Political Science, hopefully with a concentration on China. Pending acceptance into Georgetown, Chris would like to study while gaining professional experience in a government job in Washington DC.
Chris Buchheit

Latest posts by Chris Buchheit (see all)