Consumer Finance:

College Students and Credit Cards

GAO-01-773: Published: Jun 20, 2001. Publicly Released: Jul 17, 2001.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Davi M. Dagostino
(202) 512-5431
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

Credit cards offer clear advantages to college students because they provide an interest free loan until the payment is due and a convenient noncash payment option for both routine transactions and emergencies. If used responsibly, credit cards allow students to build up credit histories that will increase their access to credit in the future. However, if college students have not learned sound financial management skills in high school or from their parents, the disadvantages of credit cards can outweigh the advantages. GAO found that more than one-third of students had credit cards before they entered college, and another 46 percent acquired them during the first year. Except for charges for tuition and fees, their spending patterns resembled those of nonstudents. GAO did not find a uniform response to the controversial issue of on-campus credit card marketing among the universities GAO visited. In response to complaints about aggressive marketing techniques, a few universities have restricted credit card solicitation on campus. The credit card issuers that responded to GAO's inquiries participated actively in the student market, but they did not have a uniform set of policies or practices.

Jul 30, 2020

Jun 29, 2020

Jun 22, 2020

Apr 27, 2020

  • business icon, source: Photodisc

    Priority Open Recommendations:

    Department of Commerce
    GAO-20-497PR: Published: Apr 20, 2020. Publicly Released: Apr 27, 2020.

Dec 13, 2019

Nov 19, 2019

Oct 22, 2019

Sep 26, 2019

Jul 16, 2019

Jun 12, 2019

Looking for more? Browse all our products here