Students Warned of Plastic Pitfalls

From Associated Press

In the next few weeks, millions of college students will buckle down to hours of lectures on Russian literature, advanced calculus, sociology and other esoteric subjects. What they also need, consumer advocates maintain, are a few lessons in the fine art of handling plastic.

“We recommended there be mandatory personal-finance classes starting in junior high--including credit education,” said Ruth Susswein, executive director of Bankcard Holders of America in Salem, Va.

Earlier this year, a representative of the consumer group testified before a House subcommittee on Consumer Credit and Insurance on the importance of educating youth in handling their personal finances. The group has also urged credit-card issuers to give some lessons of their own before they dispense cards on college campuses.

College students are getting plenty of exposure to marketing efforts on the part of card issuers competing to expand their customer base. The buying power of the college-age population is running at about $25 billion a year.


As classes resume, college students once again can expect to see stacks of applications for cards in book stores, student centers, dining halls and nearby businesses.