Reducing the Hold of the Underage Credit Card Trap

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Credit card companies have saturated the adult market for credit and have recently expanded their search for new customers. These new customers, young and often underage, are easy prey for credit companies hungry for greater market share and new victims. The credit card companies know that these vulnerable customers are uninformed and easily exploited.


With their deep pockets and ability to lobby Congress, regulating the credit card companies is not a realistic option. It's incumbent upon the customer base, the young people, to be well informed and make prudent credit decisions. It's also important for society to mandate that any young person that uses credit be licensed to do so, just as they are licensed to drive. Schools need to offer mandatory credit classes that will teach students how to calculate the cost of credit, as well as the long-term implications of credit card debt. They need to know that credit card purchases have a price, and the price may be hidden in the terms that they have failed to read. They need to recognize a misleading and overly aggressive credit card marketing scam when they see it.
Most of the material could be integrated into existing Math and English courses. Math class could be used to teach how to calculate the long-term cost of a purchase based on the interest rate, as well as how to figure what the minimum monthly payment would be. English class could be a forum for reading and analyzing the fine print. It would need to offer a vocabulary section to discuss the specialized wording that companies use to mask their true intentions. It would be helpful if users understood the terms "pre-payment penalty", "grace period", and "inactivity fee". ...
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