Help Desk FAQ

Credit cards


Where can I find out more about the deal between my son’s college and the “affinity” card issuer?

Many colleges and universities sign an exclusive contract with a credit card issuer to market an affinity card to their students and alumni. These cards typically sport the school’s colors, logo or mascot, and they often provide special discounts and benefits to cardholders. The school earns money from the deal.

The CARD Act requires credit card issuers to regularly provide the Federal Reserve with a copy of credit card contracts they have with colleges and universities, alumni organizations or affiliated foundations. Issuers must list the number of open college credit card accounts, income paid to the college under the deal and the number of new accounts opened during the year. These reports, provided to Congress by the Federal Reserve, are a matter of public record. An internet search of "report on college credit card agreements" should lead to the reports.

The CARD Act also limited how credit card companies can market their cards on campuses. For example, they can no longer offer free gifts to entice students to fill out a credit application. As for credit card offers by mail, any applicant under 21 must provide proof that he or she has the financial resources to repay the credit. Otherwise, an adult (someone over 21) must co-sign.




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