New students need to use credit cards with caution

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SEATTLE -- Along with books, classes and dorm rooms, one the most difficult things for college freshman is how to deal with finances. Credit card companies are anxious to sign them up, but credit card debt can get students into financial trouble.

David Devine, senior vice president of Columbia Bank, has some tips on how to manage new financial opportunities. "Stick to one credit card, plain and simple." he said. "This is a wonderful time for students, but it's also about the time that they will receive multiple credit card offers, maybe from banks they've never even heard of before."

It's easy to get caught up and sign up for as many credit cards as you can, but Devine says you have to think about the long term. "Having multiple credit cards may seem cool, but what about the money you need to pay off those bills?  You want to avoid hurting your credit."

Devine said having one credit card for college freshmen gives them the ability to pay for day-to-day necessities like food or gas and it gives them emergency funds when they need them while still providing the opportunity to learn how to manage finances on their own.