Money Wise--Credit Cards 101 - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/12/03

Money Wise--Credit Cards 101

Credit cards are very convenient, but they can also be very costly if you're not careful. College students are a prime target for credit card companies and many are finding out it's easy to say charge it and hard to make those monthly payments. One local school is doing something about it. It isn't a typical class at Armstrong Atlantic State University. And the teacher isn't your typical professor. It's a representative from Wachovia Bank, brought in by university officials for a free one day course.

Some of the students know nothing about credit cards.

"Right now, I have no credit, but I came to the class inquiring about how to get my first credit card," said student Amanda Robinson.

"Within the next couple of months, I'll be looking to get a credit card," classmate Ashlea Wooten said.

Others know credit card debt all too well. Student Krystle Johnson, who is just finishing her freshman year, already has four.

"I got them just to say I'm going to collect and not use them, but being a college student you want things, so I just spend spend spend on each of them," she said.

That sounds pretty bad, but Johnson's attending the class along with her classmates to learn how to use credit cards responsibly.

"Keep it as though you're keeping your checkbook," Wachovia's Sharon Kelly told her students. "Keep a balance and watch on what you're using. Pay it off ASAP, so that even though it will build your credit and your balance, but the important part is having it under control."

Students took a quiz, asked questions, and also learned about annual percentage rates.

"I really didn't know about the APR rate, but now I know more about it," said student Amanda Robinson.

They walked away knowing much more than what they did about credit cards. And some say the class even inspired them to slow down the charges and start up the payments.

"Tomorrow, I'm going to go pay my GAP bill," said Krystle Johnson.

What do you do if you've got credit card debt? Tomorrow in Money Wise, we'll talk to a debt counselor to discuss the options.

If you have money questions you'd like answered in Money Wise, email moneywise@wtoc.com.

Reported by: Dmitra Denmark, ddenmark@wtoc.com

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