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New GAO Report on Credit Card Marketing to Students

CREDIT CARDS: Marketing to College Students Appears to Have Declined, GAO-14-225: Published: Feb 25, 2014. Publicly Released: Feb 25, 2014.

Trends associated with college affinity card agreements include fewer agreements and cardholders and declining payments, according to data GAO analyzed from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Federal Reserve) and the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (CFPB). The number of affinity card agreements declined from 1,045 in 2009 to 617 in 2012 (41 percent). More than 70 percent of the agreements in 2012 were with institutions of higher education or alumni organizations, and one issuer—FIA Card Services, a subsidiary of Bank of America—had 67 percent of all agreements. Affinity card issuers paid $50.4 million to all organizations in 2012, 40 percent less than in 2009. In most cases, payments were based on numbers of cardholders and the amount spent on the cards. The card agreements covered contractual obligations related to such things as marketing practices, target populations, use of the organization’s logo or trademark, terms of payment, and, in some cases, service standards.”

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