July 19, 2019 | 93° F

Venmo better than credit cards, professor says

Photo by Dustin Niles |

While Rutgers offers a personal finance and decision making course, it is partially online and there is only one session available each semester. The class is meant for not only college students who may need help managing money, but also adults.

Possessing a credit card can contribute to wasteful spending, and therefore Venmo is a better option, said  Thomas Prusa, a professor in the Department of Economics. 

School of Arts and Science sophomore Neal Gopani spoke about his usage of credit cards, and said that he seldom uses it.

“I do have a credit card. I don’t use it that often, though,” Gopani said.

Prusa said Gopani is making a good choice by not using it. Credit cards can give the illusion that money is not as valuable as it really is. On the flip side, Venmo and similar money transferring services are not as harmful to students bank accounts.

“Venmo and online banking are different from the impact of ‘easy-to-access’ credit cards. Credit cards give students the false impression that money is cheap and that they can spend more than they earn. That is a problem,” Prusa said. “Venmo and online banking are just ways to access your funds.”

Gopani spoke on his usage of money transferring apps, such as Venmo.

“I indeed do use Venmo. I’ve been using Venmo since last year, and I have to say, it’s definitely better than PayPal, because they allow you to do transactions for free,” Gopani said. 

In general, financial literacy is a problem among college students. Only 40% of students attending four-year college have taken financial literacy courses, according to a survey conducted by EverFi.

“Overall, the survey found that just 40% of four-year students and 45% of students attending two-year institutions had ever taken a personal finance course,” according to NASFAA's website.

Gopani spoke on his own financially literacy, and said that he could find any information that he needed on the internet.

“I’d say I’m 50% financially literate. I know the basics, I know what everything is, but if you were to actually tell me to apply the information, I’m not sure if I could do it. But I could probably figure it out. All the information’s online,” Gopani said.

Gopani said that his friends are not financially sound, further demonstrating the results of the EverFi study.

Rutgers offers a personal finance and decision making course, but it is partially online and only has one session. Prusa said that this may or may not be adequate, though it is beneficial regardless.

“It’s not clear that one personal finance course is enough. I do think it gives a serious student a good background better financial decisions in the future,” Prusa said.

Prusa said the class is partially hybrid, meaning that there are both online and in-person components. The class is needed not only for college students mismanaging money, but also adult members of society, according to the course website.

Gopani spoke of the possibility of taking a financial literacy course at Rutgers. He does not view it as a possibility in his future, citing the internet as the best source for economic knowledge.

“No, because they’re a waste of time. I feel like you could just learn everything on your own, online, and probably faster,” Gopani said, when asked if he would consider taking a personal finance course.

Jake McGowan

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