Jim Hawkins


In February 2010, the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act intervened in student credit card markets in a dramatic way, attempting to prevent student over-indebtedness, to end aggressive marketing to college students, and to reveal and change avaricious agreements between credit card issuers and colleges. Yet, two years after it became effective, we still have little measurement of whether the Act has accomplished these goals. This Article offers the first empirical assessment of the rationales for the CARD Act and the Act’s effects. Over the two years since the CARD Act went into effect, I conducted surveys of more than 500 students at two different colleges. I also examined 300 agreements between issuers and college-related organizations, which the CARD Act made publicly available for the first time. Based on this survey and study, I found that many of the CARD Act’s student and young consumer provisions have not affected credit markets in the ways the Act’s proponents had hoped. Young consumers are still qualifying for credit cards without enough earned income to pay off the debt, and students are still reporting high levels of credit card marketing efforts aimed at the students. Most strikingly, the requirement that credit card companies disclose the secret agreements between issuers and colleges has caused virtually no change in the number of these agreements or their terms.



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