Gregory Starkey, Attorney at Law


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Credit cards pose risks to college students

Now that many schools are back in full swing, credit card companies are ready to pounce. College students around the country are confronted with gimmicks, tempting rates, and a drive for a line of credit. Some statistics state over 80 percent of college students have at least one card, making them a large target for credit card companies which in turn makes obtaining a credit card easy for students. But credit cards can be financially dangerous, especially for college students who are not accustomed to the tricks and pitfalls imposed by credit card companies.

Though credit cards may be beneficial for students by providing emergency funds and helping establish good credit, there are many risks. If an individual fails to make the minimum payments, for example, credit card companies may increase interest rates, charge a penalty, and report the delinquency to credit reporting bureaus. Also, cash advances may be tempting but often lead to high interest rates that may be difficult to pay off. Some experts suggest students be fully aware of all the conditions before signing a credit card contract and to use the cards wisely.

But what about those who found themselves in a situation where they had to use their card, for unexpected medical expenses, for example, and are no longer able to make their payments? These individuals may be left with financial challenges that render life difficult. Creditor harassment, mounting balances, and stress can leave them feeling hopeless. Fortunately, these individuals can seek help from a bankruptcy attorney, who may be able to give them hope of obtaining a fresh financial start.

After discussing the client's financial situation, an attorney will discuss the legal options that are available. Amongst these options is filing for bankruptcy. Many are afraid of the idea of bankruptcy, but shedding debt may be the best way to get back on firm financial footing. An attorney can clarify the process, helping the client understand Chapter 7 bankruptcy, what is required of them, and which assets may be retained throughout the process.

Everyone deserves a second chance. If credit card debt leaves an individual struggling to get by day-to-day, she should consider consulting with an attorney to weight her options for obtaining the new start she deserves.

Source: The Indianapolis Recorder, "Credit card debt and the college student an unhealthy cocktail," Jesse Brown, Sep. 5, 2013

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