Marie has an unusual but great post on credit cards and college students.
I feel lucky. I got out of college in the early ‘80s just before credit card companies began issuing lines of credit to students. I have a feeling I would have gotten myself into trouble had I been born just a few years later.
I never had much money in college. I survived on grant money, student loans, a bit here and there from my parents, being able to crash (and eat) at my mom’s house during breaks and, of course, I worked the entire time I was in school. Really, my only luxury was being able to afford beer on the weekends. I wouldn’t have even been able to do that had I owned a car (I walked, bummed rides and took public transportation).
With that in mind, I seriously doubt I would have been able to resist credit card solicitations. The temptation to have some extra spending power just would have been too great. I’m not complaining about my life during those years –far from it – I just think I would have tried to make them even better on credit and then been stuck with a mountain of debt going into my first (very low-paying) post college job.
While I never got an invitation from a credit card company back then, I did apply for one particular card a couple of times for a specific reason and knowing full well that I would be rejected. You see, Sears would have credit card application booths set up in their stores and would encourage applications by giving away a cheap gift just for applying. So, I got my first set of tools this way and, later, my first credit rejection letter. But that was fine. I had no expectation of being issued a credit card and I now had myself a free tool set or decanters or whatever. I was happy.
And I wasn’t the only one card-free. None of my college buddies had credit cards unless it was their parents. Yes, there were a few spoiled brats who were given cars by mommy and daddy and then given plastic on to which they could charge their gas. But that was about the extent of it.