Cards a credit to UA students

By Kris Baldwin

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The beginning of the semester is a hectic time for students. Books, class schedules, residence halls and money. Money seems to be one of the most important things on campus at this particular time of year. Tuition is due, late fees are in effect and students need to eat. The start of a new school year also brings representatives of several credit card companies to the UA Student Union Building and the Mall. The representatives come to sign students up for one credit card or another, offering low annual percentage rates, long-distance deals, frequent-flier miles, free compact discs the list goes on.

So what exactly are students getting into when they sign up for the credit cards offered to them?

"I think that students are just getting their feet wet and learning to deal with credit and the fact that it is part of their life," said Jason Johnson, an AT&T student representative.

Said Mitch Montagna, an AT&T spokesperson, "Students need to have the choice about their financial independence. If you try to pressure them into something they do not want to do, they might end up hurting themselves in the end."

Elli Gibietis, business sophomore, said she signed up for one card when she was a freshman, "and spent the whole summer trying to pay off the debts of the four other cards I got to pay off the first one."

Although Gibietis had so many problems with her card, she now tries to sign other students up for the AT&T Universal Card.

Jeffrey Burbage, a Bank of America representative, said the representatives were there to help new applicants understand the process they were going through. None of the representatives on the UA Mall had information about how to manage a credit card, or how to obtain the information on the credit report that the card companies receive.

"The Universal card makes it a point to send information with the new card," Montagna said, "but we do not feel that it is important for the students to see the information when they are signing up for the card because they have not been accepted yet."

Representatives felt that once students have committed to a certain financial obligation, they are solely responsible for what happens with their money. They said if the student chooses to manage it wisely, there are few problems to worry about. If, however, a student chooses to abuse the cards they have received, representatives said, they will pay the consequences. But many students said they are willing to take that risk.

"I need a credit card because I just moved out of my house and now I need the extra money," said freshman Alicia Thomas. "Besides, if I have any problems with it I can ask my parents for help."

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