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Credit card companies still advertise to college students

A survey conducted by a UH professor indicates credit card companies are still advertising to students under the age of 21, despite a 2009 bill passed under President Obama forbidding it.

The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act is a bill that was passed in hopes of changing the unfair practices within the consumer credit plans.

What interested UH Law Center Assistant Professor Jim Hawkins was a revision to the 1970 Fair Credit Reporting Act, which said credit card marketing companies could not get information on anyone under 21 from organizations providing credit reports to offer credit cards. The bill also encourages limits on the promoting done by the companies on college campuses.

Based on Hawkins’ survey of over 500 students, 68 percent of students said they had received credit card offers in the mail within the past year, and 40 percent said they witnessed credit card marketing companies promoting gifts to students since the bill was put in effect in 2010.

“I was surprised that so many students reported they were getting so many offers in the mail,” said Hawkins.

The purpose of the bill was to make it harder for credit card companies to obtain people’s addresses, Hawkins said. He soon found out that wasn’t completely the case.

During his study, Hawkins also examined 300 credit card agreements between college students and credit card issuers. He discovered that about 64% of all the agreements evaluated had not changed since the bill was passed.

“In only two cases in all of the 300 agreements that I reviewed did I observe any mention of regulation as influencing the decision to end the agreement,” said Hawkins in a press release.

Despite his findings, Hawkins said the act is slowly having a bigger impact on credit card marketing companies.

If a student is interested in retrieving a credit card, Hawkins says they should know what they’re getting into.

“Credit cards can be really useful and really dangerous,” said Hawkins.

“It’s really easy to spend money on a credit card, so it’s important to be disciplined and not affect yourself and even your family members.”

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