College kids going off to school on their own are finding offers for credit cards arriving in their mailboxes. Debra Moore in the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection office says like many products, they hope to get the attention of young people first making their purchasing decisions as a consumer.
Moore says her office sees solicitations going to high-school juniors and seniors, as well as a lot of college students. Once they have the card, “it becomes easy to charge the pizzas, and it becomes easy to buy the stereo equipment. If they don’t have the cash do do it and really want that, then you have a credit card.”
While it’s easy to use, Moore says it can quickly get a young person without a lot of money into big trouble. She says the credit-card offers may not be as good as they look. Most have introductory rates that are really, but they may only last six months. “In the fine print is where you see the hidden fees,” Moore says.
“The interest rates go up, or late penalty fees or over-the-limit fees,” and she says that’s why you need to read the offer very carefully. She says if you charge that card to its max, the company may raise your credit limit — a bigger danger for a young consumer. Getting one credit car can even increase the number of others offers you receive, so Moore says you should try to get off their mailing lists.
The credit reporting companies will sell lists including your name and number — but they’ve also come together to offer a toll-free number you can call to have your name removed from their mail advertising lists for two years, or removed permanently. She says calling that number will produced a “marked decrease” in the number of credit-card offers coming in the mail.
The number’s 1-888-5 “OPT-OUT.” ( 888-567-8688) Find out more on the attorney general’s website and look in the consumer advisories for their section on how to deal with credit cards.
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Iowa Attorney General