Sep 022003
Authors: Stephanie Lindberg

Credit cards can be a quick and convenient way to pay for something if the cash is not immediately available, but they can also cause problems with debt.

Most negative blemishes will stay on a credit card report for seven years, according to the Uniform Consumer Credit Code on the Colorado Department of Law’s Web site.

Last week, the CSU Plaza was filled with vendors of different sorts, including credit card companies, trying to attract college student clientele.

Brian Jackson, a sophomore economics student, said he used to get a lot of credit card applications when he lived in the residence halls.

Sara Allen, the executive director of the Fort Collins Consumer Credit Counseling Service office, said when she was in college she was not offered a credit card because she had no job or credit history at the time.

“Now credit cards are fairly easy to get but not to manage,” Allen said.

Consumer Credit Counseling Service is an agency that offers counseling services to clients seeking help in controlling their debts.

“It’s a student thing, that’s for sure,” Allen said of credit card debt. “We help people come up with a budget so they can pay bills every month.”

Allen’s records of client age from 2002 reported 13 percent of the clients seeking debt management help were between the ages of 18 to 24. More than half of the clients are under 30 years of age.

Jeff Henrickson, a senior studying sports medicine, said he doesn’t have a credit card for one simple reason.

“I know I’d overspend,” Henrickson said.

Students can schedule an appointment with a counselor at the office, located at 1247 Riverside Ave., or attend the walk-in hours on Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. or Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Henrickson has a bank check card and has had to pay fines for going over the limit.

“I try to save all of my receipts and record them at the end of the week,” Henrickson said. “It’s $28 if you don’t put enough money in (your account) in a day. You can do a charge of one dollar and it’s still a $28 fine.

Jenny Leazer, a junior journalism major, has two credit cards. One she said she uses for big purchases and one for every day things. She has not had any problems with debt and offered some advice for other students considering getting a credit card.

“Always make your payments on time even if it’s just the minimum payment,” Leazer said.

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