College students frequently show they have little skill when it comes to using a credit card in a responsible manner. This article deals with this issue in an emerging market and in a pioneering manner. University students (n = 769) in São Paulo, Brazil's main financial center, replied to a questionnaire about their credit card use habits. Using Logit models, associations were discovered between personal characteristics and credit card use habits that involve financially risky behavior. The main results were: (a) a larger number of credit cards increases the probability of risky behavior; (b) students who alleged they knew what interest rates the card administrators were charging were less inclined to engage in risky behavior. The results are of interest to the financial industry, to university managers and to policy makers. This article points to the advisability, indeed necessity, of providing students with information about the use of financial products (notably credit cards) bearing in mind the high interest rates which their users are charged. The findings regarding student behavior in the use of credit cards in emerging economies are both significant and relevant. Furthermore, financial literature, while recognizing the importance of the topic, has not significantly examined the phenomenon in emerging economies.
credit cards; young adults; consumers; emerging market; personal finance