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Goodbye Free Stuff, Hello Better Credit Card Practices

Times have changed since I was in college, and I'm not just referring to the escalating cost of tuition. Banks hawking everything from free t-shirts and water bottles to free pizza used to set up their tables around the university center attempting to attract unknowing students to sign up for credit cards. As of February 22, 2010, those banks won't be allowed to coerce young adults with free stuff in exchange for completing credit card applications.

The uprooting of these tricky tactics is part of a farther reaching credit card reform act, which also includes a clause disallowing those under age 21 to be approved for a card without a co-signer if the applicant doesn't have proof of income. The goal is to reduce the number of students who accumulate consumer debt because they don't understand the implications of using credit irresponsibly.

Did you graduate with credit card debt that could have been prevented if you were better educated about credit?

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Join The Conversation
MuppetsForDinner MuppetsForDinner 7 years
Actually, I got a credit card in college and I couldn't be more thankful. I am smart with my money; I don't buy things that I can't afford. However, I think my excellent credit rating is mostly thanks to establishing healthy credit early. Lenders want to see that you can and have paid off balances on time. If you never have a card, you're no one to them... a pretty scary risk. For example, when my husband and I went to buy our first home this year at age 26, my credit rating was higher than my husband who just got a credit card at 23 since I had a longer history of on-time payments. Credit isn't something you have to be scared of-- just something to use intelligently to suit your needs.
Dhorwich Dhorwich 7 years
I never got one of those evil college credit cards. I went into college with one that my parents also shared with me and that was that. I know people who are still in tons of debt from those tempting credit cards in college so I think this new credit card act is a very good thing.
Spectra Spectra 7 years
I did open one credit card in college to pay for my books. I did a lot of research first and picked one with a low interest rate and that had decent rewards. Once I graduated college and got a job, I paid the entire balance off and stopped using the card. When I got married, we pretty much only used our joint card because it had better rewards so we cancelled my college card and cut it up.
poissondujour poissondujour 7 years
That seems a little extreme. Now, when college students are looking for post-school housing they won't necessarily have accumulated any good credit and they'll need a co-signor for the lease, too. And all sorts of other things...
supercoolnat supercoolnat 7 years
I definitely opened up credit cards in college, but thankfully I understood enough to be able to manage them without building up debt. Even before I knew much about credit scores, I had a feeling it wasn't good to sign up for a ton of credit cards just to get a free t-shirt.
rach716 rach716 7 years
I had a credit card in college and really messed up my credit because of it (everyone makes mistakes :( ) But I've learned my lesson and any that I have now get paid in full each month. In a way I guess you could say my mess-up was a good thing because it's definitely made me more responsible about that type of thing now.
skigurl skigurl 7 years
i've never had credit card debt...i pay it off every month, and didn't use one in college
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