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Diploma does not erase credit card debt

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Young people can graduate college with all sorts of expenses, not least of which is credit card debt.

With credit card issuers targeting students aggressively over the past decade, frequently offering attractive teaser interest rates beginning when they first arrive on campus, students may often find themselves proudly carrying their very own plastic.

Young people who are in school are in a unique position, since being a student offers the opportunity to qualify for a credit card without having a job. College may be the only time in a person's life they can get approved for a card while not employed.

Of course, with the ease of approval also comes the danger that young people can wind up in serious debt very early in their lives. Meanwhile, making late payments can result in fees of up to $39.

And, missing payments altogether on a student credit card can cause teaser rates to vanish in a flash, only to be replaced by APRs of as much as 30 percent. That can make it even more expensive to repay an existing debt.

Some students may assume that once they graduate and begin working full time, it will be a snap to eliminate their credit card debt.

Unfortunately, the reality is sometimes more harsh. It may not be so simple to pay off a sizable credit card debt once they have to confront other post-college living expenses, while also tackling student loans or other debt.

Additionally, students who were not responsible about making payments on time or in some other way damaged their credit could be trailed by bad credit for years to come.

This bad credit can impact everything for qualifying for a reasonable car loan to being hired for that first job.

Since simply earning a diploma is not enough to avoid graduating with credit card debt, a young person's best defense against bad credit is to always pay their card statements on time.

Those who are unable to pay student credit card balances in full should make sure to a pay as much over the monthly minimum as possible.  Graduating from school and getting a job in the real world can be difficult enough without the baggage of excessive credit card debt.

Published: June 7, 2007


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Updated: 09-30-2016


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