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Burning Plastic

             It is blatantly unethical to market credit cards to college students. Credit cards are now considered a serious threat to students, even greater than alcohol or sexually transmitted diseases according to sociologist, Robert Manning (qtd.in Hoover 3). Students are easy targets for banks. At eighteen, the average age of a college freshman most of them have no previous banking or credit experience. This puts them in a vulnerable position and they easily give in to the lures and incentives offered by these companies. Credit card companies often distribute free T-shirts, Frisbees and long distance minutes to those who apply for credit cards. Reports suggest that debt related problems such as unpaid balances and late payments are higher among those students who sign up simply to receive these complimentary goodies (Gordon 262). Generally, in the case of college students higher their credit limits higher their debt. "During the past decade, students have generated plenty of business for credit-card companies and plenty of debt for themselves" (Hoover 2). Banks now consider students to be their new, best customers. Since students generally make the minimum payments which is two or three percent of the balance, they end up paying a very high interest. According to a survey conducted by Nellie Mae, a student- loan provider "nearly one in three students has at least four credit cards, and that one in 10 will graduate with balances exceeding $7,000" (Hoover 2). Such consequences have lead scores of colleges to ban the marketing of credit cards. However many large institutions still permit the marketing of credit cards. These institutions are involved in lucrative business partnerships with major banks. The most popular being monopoly contracts, where, exclusive rights are given to a particular bank to market credit cards to students, alumni and employees as well as to issue affinity cards bearing the university's name (Hoover 3).

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