Originally published on Youthradio.org, the premier source for youth generated news throughout the globe.
By: Asha Richardson
I'll never forget when I was nine years old. My parents had recently
separated and my mom just moved into a new apartment. One of the first
nights, before the boxes were unpacked, I remember my mom talking in her
sleep. "You have to have good credit, you need good credit."
At the time I didn't know what credit was -- but it sounded scary. That's
why years later, I was terrified to get a credit card.
When I moved out to go to college, my mother told me not to sign up for any
credit cards offers unless I talked to her first. I was shocked when in my
first semester I went to my bank for a direct deposit sheet and the teller
told me I was pre-approved for a credit card.
I quickly refused. Unfortunately many of my peers fall for this trap.
We college students charge credit cards like stampedes. But who wouldn't
want a seemingly endless supply of money their parents have no control over?
Well that's not an option anymore.
The Credit CARD Act effective this week changes everything for the under 21
set. You don't have an income? You don't have a credit card. Your parent
refuses to co-sign? You still don't have a credit card. No more credit card
companies at college fairs, pre-approved cards, freebies and more. I think
it's a good idea. And lets add some financial literacy courses before you
start to charge this or that.
As scared as I am of credit cards, I see how they are really necessary for
other people. I have friends who depend on credit cards for groceries,
textbooks or plane tickets to go back home for breaks. Budget cuts are just
making college more expensive and private loans are hard to come by.
Speaking of -- what ever happened to legislation making more student loans
available directly from the government? Last I heard, the lobbyists for
major private student lenders were stalling that one.
The Credit CARD act will help a lot of my peers because it saves them from
themselves. Still, it doesn't answer the challenges of responsible, broke
students trying to make it through the recession.
So I'm worried. This could be a band aid fix to a super glue problem.
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