Do I Need a Credit Card?


I read an article the other day with the headline “Visa Counsels Durham Students on Finance.”

Just the title is enough to send shivers down your spine, eh? We’ve got credit card companies teaching kids about proper money management.

It’s like the fox in the chicken coop.

Rosetta Jones, VP of Visa USA said the following:

“Don’t ignore that your future is going to be full of decisions about money,’ Jones said. As adults, Jones said, students’ credit scores will be as important to them as their GPA is now. She told the teens that their ability to pay bills on time will determine whether they make the grade with creditors.”

Something kind of bugs me about that statement with the score being as important as the GPA (though I really don’t think GPAs are all that important).

My first run-in with “bad” credit was when I was shopping around for car insurance rates. My wife and I were just married and had bought our first car. We needed some car insurance. The rates came back sky high and every broker told me the same thing:

“You don’t have any credit. That’s just as bad as having bad credit”

Luckily Geico doesn’t yet seem to care about credit scores.

That event was the impetus for me to get my first credit card. My wife had an Old Navy card that she had literally never used. We closed that account and just kept our one card – each of us having a copy. It gets us 1% cashback, which is the equivalent of about a month’s worth of groceries for us each year – maybe more. We still don’t owe anyone a dime.

It still kind of bugs me that our credit scores seem to determine so much about us. Especially when the lack of a score doesn’t mean you’re doing great financially because you don’t owe anyone any money. It means they dont’ know about you so they assume the worst.

Bleh.

I’ll play along for now though. We put everything on our card and pay it off each month. While the credit card companies don’t make money directly off of us, they make it indirectly through transaction fees the merchants are required to pay. There’s something there that also kind of irks me as well. I’m still feeding the snake.

The article is brief and basically says that financial management needs to be taught in schools. I’d much rather see someone like Dave Ramsey teach it though. Wouldn’t you love to see him and Rosetta on Crossfire?

The smartest statement in the entire article was made by a high school senior, Joshua Leak:

“Being able to budget is what’s going to get me through four years [of college].”

Now that kid’s going places.