As College Students race off to Campus, so do all the Credit Card Companies!

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American's for Fairness in Lending ( is the collaborative effort of numerous partner and ally organizations, each contributing their expertise to AFFIL and the public through AFFIL activities. As one of their allies, I endorse their Principals for Fairness in Lending and support their continued efforts on behalf of borrowers.

AFFIL provides tips and warnings to College Students dealing with credit card companies;

Credit card companies sign you up even if you have little or no income, knowing you'll trigger high "penalty" interest rates and fees.  That's where they make their big $$$.

College students, young workers, immigrants, the elderly and others who are not aware of the traps get solicited the most and hit the hardest.

Free t-shirts, Frisbees and pizza come at a dangerous cost.  Your signature can lock in very unfair terms.

Credit card companies hire students to get their friends to sign up for cards that are filled with hidden fees and unfair terms.

And that's just credit cards!  The subprime mortgage debacle is the same story of greed and abuse - not to mention abusive payday loans, car title loans, car financing, and more. 

Click here for more reasons why you should care - and see below on how to make a difference.

Now that you're making financial decisions for yourself, be sure to protect yourself from credit card tricks and traps.  Here are some tips to consider before you break out the plastic.  Adapted from "Credit Card Tips for College Students," Consumers Union

1. Don't get tricked, trapped or suckered into a card with bad terms.  If you want a credit card, get one with a long-term low interest rate (APR).  If you get a low introductory rate, chances are it'll start at 0% and then jump to 20% with one almost-on-time-but-didn't-quite-make-it payment.  Still want a credit card? Just know what you're in for...

2. Once you choose a card, don't let your guard down. Credit card companies are notorious for changing rules and playing GOTCHA.  Look through those mailings they send...they may include a nasty change in terms. 

3. Pay your bill on time. Better yet, pay it several days ahead of time.  If the due date is on a Sunday and your payment (duh) arrives on Monday - you're late!  Don't laugh, this is REALLY common. And when you're late - see (1) above, your interest rate jacks up.

4. Pay your bill in full.  Whenever possible.  And as quickly as you can.

5. Do not go over your credit limit.  And set the credit limit as low as possible.  Don't be fooled - credit card companies LOVE to give you a credit limit you can't afford.

6. Stay as far away from a credit card 'cash advance' as you can.  The interest rate on cash advances is MUCH higher and credit card companies apply any payment you make to whatever else you owe first.  That cash advance hangs around unpaid and with increasing interest until you DO pay your bill in full.  Did we already mention that they're looking to get you?

7. Ignore those in-store "15% off today if you sign up for our credit card" offers.  You'll pay back what you saved and then some REAL fast.

8. Carry only one card.  Less confusion.  How many companies do you want abusing you at once?

9. If you do get into credit card debt, get help right away.  Don't wait until it gets worse.  Try the Consumer Action Help Desk.

10. Remember your other option: CASH.

Still not convinced? Read the facts about college students and credit cards.  Or watch a funny video and see how the credit card companies are laughing: 


For additional college student safety tips see a couple earlier blogs:

Students may find more than a Degree in their future...

Read and watch video: Profits over Student Credit Card Debts

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1 Comment

due to financial struggles a lot of students nowadays rely on loans and credit cards to support their education and personal expenses. A lot of financial institutions are taking advantage of it by giving a high interests and extra charges which add the burden of those young ones. That's why it is important to learn managing purchases and controlling expenses.

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