Slideshow 8 Campus Debit Card Trends to Watch

  • July 13 2012, 9:27am EDT
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Opportunities for campus debit cards emerged after the CARD Act in 2010 blocked much campus credit card marketing. However, consumer advocacy groups are calling for closer regulatory scrutiny of the growing debit niche. (Image: Thinkstock)

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Higher Education

Campus debit cards now serve about 42% of all college students nationwide through 900 card partnerships, U.S. Pirg says. U.S. Bank has deals at 51 campuses, Wells Fargo has 43 campus card deals and PNC Bank has deals with 23 campuses. (Image: Thinkstock)


Higher One Holdings Inc., which is not a bank, has 520 campus card deals covering 4.3 million students. Two other nonbanks, Blackboard Inc. and Heartland Payment Systems Inc., have 25 and 23 campus card deals, respectively. Each of those deals covers over 100,000 student cardholders. (Image: Thinkstock)

Follow the Money

Campus debit cards can be lucrative, generating revenue from per-swipe fees, inactivity fees, overdraft fees, ATM fees and fees to reload prepaid cards. A contract between The Ohio State University and Huntington Bank includes $52 million in payments to the school over 15 years, U.S. Pirg says. (Image: Thinkstock)

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In the Loop

More colleges are replacing closed-loop campus cards with reloadable open-loop debit cards. Schools use them for payroll, financial aid disbursements and refunds. The move to network-branded cards has also cut universities' paperwork costs. (Image: Thinkstock)

Going Legal

A civil lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California alleges that Higher One offers students scant ATM coverage and excessive fees. A Higher One representative says its practices are within industry standards, its fees are transparent and it teaches students financial literacy. (Image: Thinkstock)

Fees Flee

Heartland Payment Systems in late June eliminated a $30 dispute fee charge, a $1 bill-pay fee and a 50 cent card-to-card transfer fee from its Acceluraid prepaid debit card, which is used for disbursing student financial aid. (Image: Thinkstock)

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau now oversees campus debit cards. Consumer advocacy groups are urging the agency to ensure that student card fees are fair. U.S. Pirg also recommends that the bureau expand consumer protections that apply to credit cards under the Truth In Lending Act to also cover debit cards. (Image: Thinkstock)