By Jim Donovan

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A shaky job market and student loan debt could send new graduates in search of credit cards to finance the first steps of their adult financial lives. But as 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan tells us, the wrong decisions now could haunt them later.

For many members of the class of 2012, the dream job and the dream salary won’t come right away and as a result some may turn to credit to bridge financial gaps.

Credit standing can impact everything from apartment leases to car loans, and in some cases, even job applications.

Getting off to a solid start can be really simple.

According to Beverly Harzog of, “When it comes to credit, the most important thing when you’re starting out is, yes it’s fine to get a credit card because it is important to build a good credit history, but pay that balance off every month. You really have to do that.”

Young people can find themselves with a lot of offers for their first credit cards.

Harzog warns, don’t be flattered, millions of others will get the same offers too.

She says, “Don’t fall for the hype. Take a deep breath, and read the offers very carefully. Read the fine print and don’t get a card unless you absolutely do need one.”

Important points in that fine print include the interest rate, and any fees especially those that might be attached to a rewards card.

This is perfect time to remind you, whether you’re a recent grad or almost at retirement, you should be checking your credit report on a regular basis. Incorrect information on your report could cause you to be paying everything from higher interest rates to increased insurance premiums.

Everyone is eligible for obtain one free report a year from each of the three big credit reporting agencies. To get yours, visit: