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Business and Policy Areas
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Campaign Launched to Curb Credit Card Marketing on Campus

October 15, 2007

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group and its campus-based student chapters have launched a campaign to curb aggressive credit card marketing activities directed at college students.  In conjunction with student groups, campaign organizers will be holding "counter-marketing" events on campus to help educate students about credit card marketing tactics and to raise awareness about campus policies and practices.

As part of the campaign, student groups will be asking colleges and universities to: 

1. Prohibit use of gifts related to marketing on campus. In soliciting applications for credit cards on campus, credit card banks, issuers, and vendors shall be prohibited from offering anything of value, including food, clothing, sports equipment, travel vouchers, coupons, or equivalents. In addition, credit card banks, issuers, and vendors are prohibited from offering financial support or other goods and services to any campus employee or campus department in exchange for marketing privileges.

2. Control passive marketing techniques. Posters and flyers shall comply with college posting regulations. Credit card banks, issuers, and vendors shall be prohibited from leaving their marketing materials posted or displayed for longer than designated by the posting regulations that govern the campus.

3. Block acquisition of student lists. Purchase of student lists shall be prohibited on campus. Credit card banks, issuers, and vendors are prohibited from purchasing lists of any kind that include students currently enrolled at the campus.

4. Stop group sponsorship. Student group or departmental sponsorship shall be prohibited. Credit card banks, issuers, and vendors are prohibited from negotiating deals with student groups and other campus departments such that the student group or department will receive financial support or any other goods and services for applications collected on behalf of a credit card company.

5. Increase financial education. Financial education shall be enhanced on campus. Colleges and universities shall increase resources to support training and educational programs that increase students’ consumer awareness and ability to navigate issues of student debt responsibly.

6.  Discourage credit card contractual terms and conditions that take advantage of students as consumers. Colleges and universities shall discourage specific credit card terms that take advantage of the consumer. Such practices include (a) universal default, in which a company will increase a consumer’s interest rate based on his or her payment record on another account not associated with the card; (b) hidden fees, which appear when a company does not disclose certain fees charged for paying by phone or ordering a copy of a bill; (c) mandatory arbitration, in which the consumer gives up the right to legal action against the company; (d) contract changes, in which the company reserves the right to change all terms on the credit card at any time for any reason; and (e) penalty interest rates above 20 percent that stay in place indefinitely.

For more information about the campaign, visit: http://www.truthaboutcredit.org