ABC Links Credit Card Companies to College Suicides
Credit card companies â€“ not irresponsible borrowers â€“ are to blame for the debt that college students rack up, according to ABCâ€™s â€śGood Morning America.â€ť Consumer correspondent Elisabeth Leamy reported June 26 that lenders use â€śdeceptive tacticsâ€ť to â€ślure college students inâ€ť and even tried to link suicide to that debt.
â€śDozens of schools including Georgetown University here have banned credit companies from their campuses over the past decade. So the card companies have gotten more creative â€“ some say sneakier â€“ in how they lure students in,â€ť reported Leamy.
Just how â€śsneakyâ€ť have they gotten? Credit card companies are using the â€śdeceptive tacticâ€ť of giving them an irresistible offer: sandwich coupons.
Leamy showcased a student from the University of Illinois who fell victim to this enticing trap. The student took the free coupon, â€śbut when she got to the restaurant, just outside the University of Illinois, Chicago, campus, there was a catch. She had to apply for a credit card in order to get the free lunch.â€ť
Leamy also advertised a documentary called â€śMaxed Out,â€ť which included the mothers of two college students who, the film said, â€śkilled themselves over credit card debt.â€ť A â€śGood Morning Americaâ€ť graphic asked, â€śAre companies preying on students?â€ť
Only Nessa Feddis of the American Bankers Association pointed out that college students, most of whom are 18, should be responsible for themselves. â€śAt 18, people are allowed to enter into contracts, theyâ€™re allowed to get married, theyâ€™re allowed to vote, theyâ€™re allowed to sign up for the Army,â€ť she said. â€śThey should be allowed to have a credit card and not have the government intervene.â€ť
But rather than encouraging self-discipline and responsible borrowing, Leamy turned to government regulation as the solution.
â€śOne bill before Congress would try to address the issue by capping credit card limits for students at $500 or 20 percent of the studentâ€™s income,â€ť said Leamy. â€śAnother would set limits for people under 18. They would have to prove that they have an independent source of income to repay the card or that they have taken a credit counseling course.â€ť