Four out of five college students believe credit card marketing should be regulated on college campuses, according to a recent report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group.
The Washington, D.C.-based organization surveyed more than 1,500 students – mostly single undergraduates – at 40 large and small colleges and universities, to analyze credit card usage and attitudes toward credit card marketing on campus.
Of the 80% of students who supported credit card marketing reform, nearly 74% said only cards with fair terms and conditions should be marketed. About 46% of the students surveyed believe there should be a limit on the number of days a creditor can market on campus.
Nearly four in 10 students, or 38%, were opposed to credit card companies paying vendor fees to the university or student groups for marketing privileges. Thirty-six percent were against creditors offering free gifts as an incentive to apply. The most common gifts were t-shirts, lunch and sports-related toys, according to the study.
Privacy also was a big concern for students: 67% opposed the sale or sharing of student lists, which can contain home/dorm addresses, e-mail addresses and home and cell phone numbers, with creditors.
The report collected information about how many college students already have credit cards and how they are using them. About 66% had at least one credit card and of those paying their own bills, 36% stated they pay their balance in full each month.
More than half (55%) said they use their card for day-to-day expenses. The same amount reported using their card for books, and 40% used it for "weekends" or "pizza." Only 39% used their card on an "emergency only" basis.
Credit card marketing on college campuses already is regulated in several states, including California, Oklahoma and Texas. However, an Arizona lawmaker's attempt to pass similar legislation failed in early April.
Rep. Ed Ableser (D-Tempe) introduced and presented a bill that would have stopped creditors from offering free gifts to students who apply for a credit card on public college campuses. The bill failed to get past the Arizona House's Higher Education Committee.
Ableser called relying on gifts and incentives to draw in college students "predatory" and said his bill would have helped protect students.