Credit Cards Ensnare Naive College Freshmen

Eager young college students are ripe targets for the hordes of credit card marketers that blanket campuses every year. But they’re adults, right? They can make rational personal financial decisions themselves and in the absence of any education about how the credit system works, right? Survey results tell a different story:

  • 56% of all undergraduates report obtaining their first credit card when they were 18
  • 83% of all undergraduates in 2001 had at least one credit card.
  • The average student has four credit cards.
  • College students’ balances have gone up 134% in the last decade.
  • Three out of five students with credit cards maxed them out during their freshman year.
  • 71% of young adult cardholders do not pay their balance off in full each month.
  • The average undergraduate credit card balance is $2,169.
  • College seniors graduate with an average of $4,000 in credit card debt.

If you can teach your kids to beware “stranger danger,” you can tell them about the APR bogeyman finance fee fiend.