Credit Cards Pitches Return To Campus

Despite being largely banned by the CARD act, credit card issuers have figured out how to get around its provisions and still reach college kids, reports WSJ. Here’s what they’re doing:

* Instead of giving away free tshirts and posters for signing up, which are banned under the “no tangible” gift rules, credit card companies are giving kids things like a $50 credit on their bill. Why stop there with the virtual inducements? If they really want to move the needle, banks should give kids free crates in Mafia Wars.

* Tables on campus are not allowed, so marketers camp out in off-campus areas frequented by students. I’m guessing this is the Mac & Cheese aisle and that one washing machine in the laundromat that gives you free washes if you flick the quarters really quickly through the slot so they come out the return slot.

* The rules don’t forbid pitching checking accounts on campus, so some banks have switched to doing that with the hope to upsell them to a credit card farther down the marketing funnel. I don’t really have a problem with this because kids should have a checking account, although they should really be shopping around first to make their decision rather than responding to a pitch.

* Credit card companies have switched some of their marketing dollars to targeting students online via Facebook and email. See above re: Mafia Wars.

Cards Return to School [WSJ]