College students and teens are the number one target for credit card companies. Rightly so, since they represent a large part of the consumer market eager to build credit (or just consume), while many parents are willing to bail them out of a jam. Studies have found that over 80% of graduating college seniors have credit card debt before they even land their first job, with one in four leaving college having more than $5,000 in debt and one in 10 with over $10,000 in debt.1 It can be a high-risk business for card issuers, and it would be wise as a credit union to pay particular attention to your credit card management policies and programs, especially when it involves younger members.
One of the key reasons credit unions are so successful in today’s lending landscape is trust. Members are loyal because they believe in your credit union and trust you with their accounts. A credit card, handled responsibly and timely paid off, is a great way to establish a positive credit history, track spending, access credit scores and even lower cell phone bills. The real benefit to younger members though is providing them with better interest rates on purchases and the education that credit unions provide through their credit card programs.continue reading »