What the CARD Act means for young consumers

Hello, Student LoanDown readers! I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me on the blog. I’ve been pretty busy this past year working on a project related to new regulations for the credit card industry.

You might’ve heard about the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act which was signed into law by President Obama  in May of 2009. The CARD Act outlines a series of new regulations on open-ended consumer credit accounts that are meant to strengthen consumer protection in the credit industry.

Why should you care? Well, there are specific regulations that apply to consumers under the age of 21. These regulations apply to any financial services company that issues open ended credit card accounts. Here’s what you should know:

  • If you are applying for open-ended credit (such as a credit card) and are under 21 years old, you must show proof that you can independently repay your debt. Otherwise, you’ll need a creditworthy co-applicant who is 21 years or older on the account with you.
  • If you are under 21 with a joint accountholder on your credit card account, the joint accountholder who is 21 or older must provide written authorization for any credit line increase that you request.
  • Giving college students “inducements” or giveaways to apply for a credit card is not allowed. This applies to all students attending an institution of higher learning, regardless of their age.
  • If you are under 21, you must submit a written application that contains your signature and the signature of your co-applicant (if applicable).

As I mentioned, the CARD Act has many other new regulations meant to protect credit card consumers. If you want to learn more, head over to the Federal Reserve website.

If you are a Wells Fargo credit cardholder, you should’ve received a notice in December or January outlining how Wells Fargo is complying with the CARD Act and what it means for you. And if you have any specific questions, please let us know!

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