Why is it that some snot nosed punk can get over $5 million in credit upon being accepted to college but I, a grown adult, can’t get my credit limit raised by a few hundred bucks to fit a Macbook Pro into the slim wedge of non-debt still imbued into my Hustler Store credit card? Ten years of paying my credit card off only when I happen to remember is probably the answer. The sort of muffed financial sense that makes it all the more absurd that I work for an irreverent consumerist blog.
Still, there’s something equally absurd about this article over at Consumer Affairs in which Joan Lisante calculates that her son was pre-approved for over 52 credit cards in his first year of college. Her son’s never held a job — he’s a completely unproven investment. Yet credit card companies are hurling hunks of plastic like dull-edged shurikens at him. And this isn’t an isolated case: everyone who has ever gone to college tends to get a similar surplus of offers.
Of course, offering high interest credit cards to kids with no income is a smart and sleazy investment in itself, virtually guaranteed to hobble a kid’s credit rating when he’s just starting out in life, while simultaneously guaranteeing that a meager debt of a couple grand quickly balloons with overdue charges and a the ballast of a high APR. Scummy. Unfortunately, the vast majority of college students end up getting suckered in. We’re starting to think a talk on responsibly managing your credit should replace the ‘birds and the bees’ talk… which always comes a few years after your son or daughter has figured it all out under the bleachers anyhow.
Plastic Peril: Credit Cards and Students [Consumer Affairs]