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Money Talks

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With school underway across the nation this week MasterCard, VISA and National Foundation for Consumer Credit announced education initiatives. MasterCard International, in partnership with College Parents of America, launched a multi-faceted education program yesterday, titled ‘Money Talks’ to help parents of college-aged students teach their children how to establish good financial habits through responsible use of credit. MasterCard also announced Thursday the adoption of ‘The Fundamental Principles on Serving the College Segment’. ‘The Fundamental Principles’ call on MasterCard members to voluntarily provide students with general and specific credit information; enhance and increase education programs aimed at this audience; and extend appropriate credit limits in accordance with sound lending principles. MasterCard’s educational is being supported by MBNA America.

FULL STORY:
As the Fall semester begins at the nation’s colleges and universities, MasterCard International, in partnership with College Parents of America, Thursday launched a multi-faceted education program titled Money Talks to help parents of college-aged students teach their children how to establish good financial habits through responsible use of credit.

MasterCard also announced the adoption of The Fundamental Principles on Serving the College Segment. A first for the payments industry, these voluntary guidelines recognize the fact that college students are a special group of consumers, many of whom have no prior credit experience. The Fundamental Principles establish a framework for MasterCard members as they interact with the college segment. The Fundamental Principles call on MasterCard members to provide students with general and specific credit information; enhance and increase education programs aimed at this audience; and extend appropriate credit limits in accordance with sound lending principles.

“Parents and other groups have raised concerns about college students and credit cards,” said Richard Flaherty, president of College Parents of America. “We are pleased that MasterCard has stepped forward with the Fundamental Principles which will serve as a model for the industry.”

“MasterCard is once again asserting its leadership in the payments industry by implementing the Fundamental Principles,” said Charlotte Newton, consumer advisor to MasterCard. “By and large, our members are already acting in accordance with the Principles, but now there is a clear roadmap for those institutions already serving college students and those who may enter the field in the future.”

“This educational initiative introduced by MasterCard, and supported by MBNA, is part of the credit card industry’s continuing commitment to providing the college customer with the money management skills they need,” said John Richmond, MBNA senior executive vice president. “These Fundamental Principles, as part of the Money Talks initiative, represent an important part of the overall support we provide in preparing young people to successfully manage their finances and establish good credit habits. We at MBNA are pleased to be actively involved in this initiative.”

“Implementing the Fundamental Principles and launching the new Money Talks partnership with College Parents of America are other examples of MasterCard’s on-going education programs to promote responsible spending and credit card use,” Newton continued. “Many of these efforts have been aimed specifically at college students. This time, we’re very excited to team with the premier collegiate parents organization to involve Mom and Dad in raising students’ financial IQ.”

To help guide parents in these important discussions, MasterCard and College Parents of America will widely distribute a Money Talks brochure; hold instructional seminars for parents of college and high school students; and reinforce responsible credit and budgeting messages in the broadcast media, in printed publications and on the Internet. The Money Talks brochure helps parents explain key issues such as: the types of credit cards; how to select the appropriate card; creating and maintaining a budget; and establishing a positive credit history.

“Money Talks is in many ways a ‘how to’ for parents because it covers the fundamentals,” explained Flaherty. “This is practical advice, but more importantly, it is the catalyst parents need to hold these discussions. As an advocate for and an adviser to parents, we recognize that empowering them in the development of their child’s financial literacy will enhance the college experience for both parent and student.”

Today’s college student is no stranger to a range of financial service products, from checking and savings accounts to credit, debit and smart cards. For most students, college represents their first experience with credit cards. Statistics indicate that the overwhelming majority of students spend within their means and pay their bills on time.

“We applaud MasterCard for taking a major first step in regard to students’ use of credit cards,” said Shirley Rooker of Call For Action. “The rising costs of a college education means that students are under extreme financial pressures. The efforts of MasterCard and College Parents of America should help many college students avoid financial pitfalls.”

MasterCard International has the most comprehensive portfolio of payment brands in the world. With 23,000 member financial institutions, serving consumers in 220 countries and territories, MasterCard is the industry leader in quality and innovation. More than 600 million MasterCard, Maestro, Cirrus and Mondex cards are accepted at more than 15 million locations worldwide. In 1997, gross dollar volume exceeded $600 billion. MasterCard can be reached through its World Wide Web site at http://www.mastercard.com.

College Parents of America — (CPA) is a resource, advisor and advocate for more than 32 million households with parents of current and future college students throughout the United States. CPA is the only national membership association dedicated to helping parents prepare and put their children through college easily, economically and safely. CPA provides new information on savings strategies and financial aid, advises parents on the individual challenges they may encounter during their students’ college years and serves as their advocate on Capitol Hill, in state capitals and on the nation’s campuses. In addition, CPA offers families special values on products and services. For more information, call toll free 1-888-256-4627 or visit CPA’s Internet web site at http://www.collegeparents.org.

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