Credit card companies still target college students - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Credit card companies still target college students

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August 25, 2006

Albany -- For years credit card companies have been criticized for targeting college students. But despite that criticism, students still get daily come-on's from banks and credit lenders.

Now University's are using students to warn their class mates about the trouble they could face in credit card traps. Albany State University student Laquoyia Hayes picks up her mail. It is four offers from credit card companies. That is not unusual. ASU Student Terence Turner said "I remember my first day checking my mail box, there were three offers in my mailbox as soon as I got on campus."

The Credit card companies target college students, offering them instant approval and thousands of dollars in credit, even if they don't have a job or a way to pay the bill. ASU Student Alisha Bowman said "I think that they just know we are students, and young, and we are probably not thinking about paying the bills now. We're just thinking about swiping now and paying later."

And students admit it is very easy to get sucked in. Turner said "They know we are new to the campus. We are going to want to decorate our dorm rooms and apartments, so it's very attractive as a student." Bowman said "I have a friend that has over two thousand dollars of credit card debt, and I don't know what she is going to do about it."

Since 2003 Albany State officials use peer financial counseling to warn students about the dangers of credit cards and debt. Students teach students about the trouble you can get in if you misuse your credit cards. Albany State University Director of Financial Aid Thomas Hayes said "since students do listen to students, their own personal stories just by hearing it from a non-authoritative body can make a difference."

But many students still fall into a cycle of debt at a very young age. Hayes said "One of the most painful situations that I have seen is when you have a student under the age of 17 comes to you and they have a bankruptcy on their file."

And a bankruptcy can be a factor in receiving student aid. Terence Turner says he warns other students about these credit card come ons. Turner said "Leave them alone, cut them up, shred them, do whatever you can to avoid the credit card trap."

 But it's a trap credit card companies keep mailing out daily.

Nationwide research found that sixteen percent of college students have a credit card debt of three to seven thousand dollars. Seven percent owe more than seven thousand dollars.

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