Consumer Payment Card News

School Package

With 84% of college undergraduates holding at least one credit card, card issuers are allowed to aggressively market to this demographic for only 5 more months before legislation puts on the brakes in February 2010. Students on campuses across the Country are in the cross hairs this fall, more than half of whom have four or more credit card accounts, graduate with an average of $4,138 in credit card debt (44% more than 2004) and only 17% of whom pay off their balances each month. On average, students accrue more than 14% interest monthly by only making the minimum payment. In response, the Consumers Union nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports has assembled its “Credit Card Care Package” (www.CreditCardReform.org) to prepare students for the aggressive credit card marketing tactics, which tend to include gifts in exchange for filling out a credit card application and issuing credit cards to people under 21 without a cosigner. Consumer Union is reminding students cheap gifts are not worth a 35% interest rate in the event of a missed payment; bank accounts with a debit card is usually the better option; shop carefully for a credit card and understand the contract. The new report also warns students of the teaser rate; not to finance big expenses such as an education with a credit card; to pay off balances monthly and on time; and never to cosign for friends.

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