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"Credit Card Kiosks" On College Campuses

Jan 25, 2008
Students entering their freshmen year of college are typically starting a new chapter in their lives, filled with hundreds of first-time experiences and opportunities. For many, it's the first time they've lived on their own. For some, it may also be the first time they had to do much for themselves, from laundry to planning their own meals. For all college students, the temptation to sign on the dotted line for various credit card offers can be too much to overcome!

As the summer fades into fall, all around the country you'll see little tables popping up with enticing offers- "Get a free T-Shirt when you apply for our credit card"; "Choose a free CD"; or "Free Pizza when you apply!" The little credit card "kiosks" are littered all over campus in some cases, with the most marketing savvy setting up shop in front of the pizza shop where students can get their free pizza for applying, or in front of the dining hall or center of campus where students tend to socialize in between classes.

Some students might pass right by- but probably the majority of students are interested in the give-aways enough to stop by the table, and with about 50% of these students signing up for credit card offers, you can guess the marketing is effective.

It's not that student credit cards are a bad idea- it's what typically happens to these wet-behind-the-ears undergraduates when they catch the credit card fever. Most of the time, student credit cards offer low credit lines of $500 or $1000, and it's very easy to charge up to your maximum limit quickly. As students are enjoying the buy-now and pay-for-it-later experience (no pun intended) they're also quick to sign on a new dotted line for a different free t shirt or a free dinner. After all, what's another monthly payment of $20 going to do? What many college students aren't realizing (until much later) is that their $500 credit cards are costing them two, three... sometimes four times or more in interest when they make just the minimum payment each month. Worse, if the student has a poor financial management system and misses a payment here or there, the late fees and increased interest rates from non or late payments will result in ridiculous amounts of money being thrown out the window.

Students are going to college to create a better future for themselves; getting a higher education and a degree that is meant to earn them a higher income than if they hadn't gone to college. When these students rack up thousands of dollars in credit card debt, they graduate into the real world with damaged credit scores and the inability to keep up with their payments. Before they've even landed their dream careers, some of the students have created such a mess out of their credit scores that they've got to work two or three jobs to make ends meet.

Colleges all over the nation require a certain set of educational courses- regardless of what you plan to major in. Most universities require an English or writing course, a science, math and foreign language course as part of every course of study's major requirements. Probably another course to require of all students would be a basic financial management course. Unless a student has been taught personal finance and money management from their parents, college is often the first experience a student has with handling their own finances. Why do we assume a student has this knowledge without being taught?
About the Author
At CreditorWeb.com, you can find all the information you need to compare student credit cards.
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