They tempt college students as they walk from one class to another, using the promise of free items ranging from shirts to cell phones to sunglasses just for filling out a form.
|According to the Consumer Action Handbook, students can protect their credit record by
These people are credit card vendors and their job is to get students to apply for credit cards.
“Last summer, I got close to $1,000 debt,” said sophomore Music Education major, Brian Moeller. “I spent half the summer paying debt.”
Moeller said much of what he spent in order to accumulate that debt was for necessities such as food. While he was fortunate enough to be able to pay off his entire credit card balance, many other college students are not as lucky.
However, not everyone who owns a credit card is willing to use it freely.
“I don’t use it because I don’t want to get in debt,” said a sophomore Accounting major, Christina Greco.
According to the Consumer Action Handbook, there are several things students can do to protect their credit record. These suggestions include paying bills immediately to protect credit rating, keeping track of credit card usage, reporting any changes of address to make sure bills are received on time and most importantly, not exceeding the credit limit.
If a credit card is missing, the holder should notify the card company immediately.
In addition, the “Consumer Action Handbook” advises against giving any kind of credit card information over the telephone.
Often, dishonest companies will call, claiming to have “free prizes” and ask for credit card information as a form of verification.
According to Nellie Mae, a national company that specializes in financing student loans, a December 2000 survey revealed that 78 percent of undergraduate students who applied for a loan owned at least one credit card. That number is up from 67 percent in 1998.
The same survey showed the average credit card debt was $2,748 for undergraduates, up from $1,879 in 1998. For graduate students, the average decreased from $4,925 to $4,776 over the two-year period.
According to survey, the average undergraduate owns three credit cards, while an average graduate student has four cards.