Cards Seem Convenient But Experts Say They Cause Long-Term Economic Problems For People Who Use Them

Ashleigh Robinson, Staff Writer

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In a matter of years, paper money may be outsourced with the continued using and uprising of debit and credit cards. While both are quick and easy methods to spend money, one swipe of one credit card is all it takes to acquire a massive amount of debt.
Family Consumer Science teacher Lola Pepper feels that credit cards, “when used correctly” are great.
According to personal finance writer Ryan Guina of cashmoneylife.com, owning a credit card has many perks. For one, it’s more convenient than carrying several bills around.
“Credit cards are small, convenient, and carry better consumer protections,” said Guina.
Pepper agrees with Guina.
“You don’t have to carry a lot of cash,” said Pepper. She also pointed out that this comes in handy. “You can buy now, pay later.”
Guina believes credit cards are also a way to “establish credit history.” Establishing credit history is essential to decisions later in life such as buying a car or receiving loans for college. Credit cards even offer rewards such as gift cards, certain discounts, and cash back bonuses.
Pepper thinks credit cards are a great thing to have, but mentions that the cards are only available to those who are 21 or older.
“Now you cannot get a credit card until you’re 21, unless you have your parent sign for you,” said Pepper.
In the case that a parent does sign, it’s important to use the card in the right way.
With a credit card some things in life may be easier, but if the card isn’t used properly, problems could arise in the future that could leave you in debt.
The biggest problems with credit cards are people not paying their bill at the end of the month. Some credit cards have high interest rates that users are charged if their bill is not paid on time. On top of paying for the purchase and the bill, there will be the interest rate added into the entire equation which often leads to a large amount of debt.
“I’ve heard of people being in thousands of dollars of debt because they didn’t pay their bill on time,” senior Shiree Perry said.
Perry does not own a credit card and doesn’t see herself owning one anytime soon.
“I only have a debit card,” said Perry. “Maybe when I’m older and have a better job, I’ll get one, but it’s kind of scary right now.”
Experts say the key to owning a credit card when young is not to make extreme purchases. Start off by charging simple, small things. By doing this, people can establish their credit histories.
“If I had a credit card, I would probably buy gas or something small from the store,” said Perry.
With smaller purchases, it is also easier to pay off a bill at the end of the month.
In the end, though, financial counselors say those small purchases will add up to high bills if credit card bills aren’t paid off monthly.

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