Credit in the Paper Chase: A Coed Consumer First Experiences the World of Transaction Cards

By Friedman, Jon | American Banker, September 27, 1985 | Go to article overview

Credit in the Paper Chase: A Coed Consumer First Experiences the World of Transaction Cards


Friedman, Jon, American Banker


LINDA BELTZ WAS A 20-year-old freshman at James Madison University when she experienced a rite of passage into adulthood.

It came when she used her spanking new MasterCard in a restaurant on the college campus in Harrisonburg, Va. After watching others flash the card around for years, it was her turn. She was at a point where having her own charge card was both a status symbol and a financial necessity.

Mostly, though, it was a symbol of a time in her life when she was no longer a teenage kid but certainly not yet an established adult.

"The first time I used it, I felt very adult-like," she said recently. "But I was a little nervous. I didn't know where to sign it. I hadn't even signed the back of the card."

today, Ms. Beltz, who transferred after her freshman year to George Mason University in Fairvax, Va., is a more worldly 23-year-old senior.

Hardly a budding "yuppie," Ms. Beltz is not the typical customer you'd expect to see after watching MasterCard International Inc.'s television commercials. When t he 5-ft., 2-in. brunette sighs, "MasterCard, I'm bored," she is likely to quench her thirst for life by using her card to buy a good novel or a meal at a local Chinese restaurant.

A native of Philadelphia, Ms. Beltz now lives in Arlington, Va., and has a short commute to the Fairvax campus in the suburb of Washington, D.C. Since she doesn't own a car, she relies on car pools or an 80-cent bus ride to get her there and back home.

Why did she decide to own a MasterCard, instead of one of its competitors? Was her decision the product of long research on teh virtues of each charge card? Was she won over by the New York-based credit card company's multitude of services?

Not guite. She selected MasterCard for the most practical reason: It was the only company that offered her a card.

During her first year of college, MasterCard, throught the Sovran Bank NA based in Richmond, Va., invited Ms. Beltz and many of her college classmates to have a MasterCard. The bank's branch on the James Madison campus gave Ms. Beltz a $500 credit line, and she never exceeded it.

More Than a Status Symbol

While Ms. Beltz has stopped thinking of the card as a fancy status symbol, it comes in handy, particularly when she ventures into nearby Washington for a movie or a night on the town.

"I use it whenever I can instead of cash," she notes. "I feel more vulnerable to theft when I'm carrying around money."

Theft is no idle worry. Six years ago, Ms. Beltz had her pocket picked in Washingtom; the thief robbed her of $25 and her passport.

Even though she is now an old hand at charging items on her card, she has not been a perfect MasterCard customer. Last spring, when a payroll check didn't clear on schedule, she inadvertently bounced five checks, including one for $130.68 to MasterCard.

She was chagrined but not mortified. In fact, the incident provided some humorous irony.

"The month I bounced the check was the same one when they raised my credit limit to $1,000," she recalls. "I was very amused. It was great timing -- right on time for my summer vacation this year."

That trip -- a four-week jaunt to London, Paris, and Israel -- represented Ms. Beltz's largest set of charges to MasterCard: $1,000.

She used foreign currencies to cover most of the meals, but MasterCard covered the cost of the airfare and many gifts.

Such elaborate spending is unusual. Ms. Beltz figures that she has charged about $3,000 to MasterCard in the past 12 months.

"I charged about $250 on school books at the university book store and lots of meals, mostly at Chinese restaurants in Arlington," she says. "I eat at restaurants an average of twice a week."

Once it may have been uncommon to see college students using credit cards, but no more.

"Most of my friends have credit Cards," she observes. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Credit in the Paper Chase: A Coed Consumer First Experiences the World of Transaction Cards
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.