BusinessWeek has been examining one of the fastest-growing segments of credit card debtors, college students. Last week, they profiled a young man from the University of Pittsburgh who was recruited by a Citibank rep, at his university’s student union building, to get other students to apply for credit cards with free t-shirts and lines like “Even if you apply, you can always cut up the card,” and “It’s easy to pay off your balance once you graduate and get a great job.” For every completed application, he’d receive $5-10, and probably a tiny dark spot on his soul.
The article goes on to describe how some states are trying to limit the amount of marketing credit card companies can deliver to college students, and how the companies in return are coming up with alternative ways of getting new student customers. The techniques run from blatant—at Columbia University in NYC, banned companies set up tables right on the other side of the school property line—to creatively sneaky—JPMorgan Chase offers free taxi rides to students, then assaults them with recorded Chase card ads.
Citibank responds to BusinessWeek by writing that “Citi does not conduct direct sales marketing on college campuses,” which is such a carefully constructed non-answer that it could have come from a politician.