By Guadalupe Garcia ’18
The thrill, excitement, and nerves that come with getting your first credit card are all an inevitable part of growing up. Many teenagers get their first credit card while in high school, and all of them experience similar feelings when they receive that small yet significant object.
You see, that “plastic card” means responsibility, coming of age, maturity, and trust. Whether a student got the credit from his or her parents, or they are funding the credit card themselves, the credit card represents more than simply an easy way to get money. It brings responsibility and encourages students to be wise when dealing with their money. The first credit card teaches students about the importance of being careful with your personal belongings, but it also serves as a way to strengthen the bond with a student and a parent. When a parent gives a student a credit card, they are saying that they are trusting them with their money, and they believe that they will handle the money in a wise manner.
As Briana Chagolla, a junior, said, “I remember when I got my first credit card. I had been begging my parents to get me one, and I kept on telling them that the pros outweigh the cons, and that I would only use it only for emergencies. It took a while, but they finally listened. They surprised me with a credit card, and I remember how happy I was, not because I finally had an easy way to access money but rather because my parents trusted me enough to give me a credit card. It came with a lot of nerves though. I was scared that I would misplace it or that it would get stolen, but I promised my parents that I would care for it, and I plan on keeping that promise.”
Melissa Garcia, a junior said that she really wants a credit card, but she hasn’t gotten one from her parents yet. She says that she hopes that by the end of her junior year she will have one. Garcia said, “I’m really hopeful that I will have one by the end of this year. I am trying to convince my parents, but I respect their decision not to get me one as of right now. In the next coming months it’s going to be up to me to show them how responsible I can truly be and how much I could take care of the credit card. Getting a credit card is a big thing, but it’s not just about getting it. It is also about proving to your parents that you are now responsible with money and that you can take care of important things without losing them.”
As both Garcia and Chagolla explained, getting a credit card is a big step in showing maturity, and it also shows your parents how much they can trust you. As Chagolla said, “If your parents trusted you enough to get you a credit card, don’t be dumb and do something that could upset your parents. You should thank them because they are helping teach you how to deal with money and how to take care of your things before you go off to college.”
A little advice for new credit card owners, “If you can’t pay cash for an item, you can’t afford it. Don’t let monthly payments become a way of life for your family.”