How it impacts our card programs
While our card programs are making significant impacts on the way students spend, new data indicates that we still have vast opportunities to grow. In a recent study by Student Monitor LLC, nearly half of all college students with a major credit card in their name obtained that card prior to entering college. Add to this the fact that 85% of all students obtained their checking accounts prior to entrance and a clear fact emerges: most students have pre-determined their financial instruments before we have even seen them in the card office.
This trend shows signs of increasing, making the potential impact that our card offices can have on student spending patterns more elusive. Consider this … Among current college seniors with a major credit card, only 3 out of 10 obtained that credit card prior to entering college. But among current freshman, a staggering 8 of 10 came to campus with their credit card.
A 2001 study by NellieMae found that 83% of college students carry at least one credit card. This is not surprising, but what is astounding is that the average student with a credit card does not just have one card but more than four. The average credit card debt is $2,300 and the median debt is $1,770. Only 14% of respondents had a zero-balance, meaning the other 85% had revolving balance and were paying finance charges and, potentially, fees.
The average graduating student exits college with more than $20,000 in combined credit card and student loan debt. While only 16% or $3200 of this debt is credit card debt, the high finance charges can result in more than one-third of a student’s debt payments going to the credit card companies and more than one-third of the interest accruing on the credit card liabilities.
What does this mean?
- First, the credit card companies have succeeded in attracting cardholders at an earlier age.
- Marketing tables in the union are now focused not on convincing students to apply for their first card, but rather to add the specific offered card to their wallet.
- Credit card issuers likely won’t be willing to pay as much to secure campus endorsements.
- We will have to work harder to convince students to use the financial components of the campus card as a payment vehicle in non-mandatory locations.