College campuses and popular spring break sites used to be cluttered with credit card companies trying to get as many students as possible to apply for a card. These days, the atmosphere is somewhat different, as the Credit Card Responsibility and Disclosure Act has brought added requirements for those under 21 years of age to be allowed to obtain a credit card. The Act was signed into law in 2009, and requires individuals under 21 to get a co-signer to be able to obtain a credit card – unless the individual has an independent income.

Consequently, the number of college students who have a credit card has been declining in recent years. According to a survey conducted by Sallie Mae, only around 35 percent of college students had a credit card in 2012. This represents a decline from the 40 percent who had a credit card just one year prior and the 42 percent who had a card in 2010.

Instead, many college students are turning to debit cards, which only allow them to spend the money they already have in their bank account. While this trend has prevented college students from acquiring credit card debt, it has also prevented them from beginning to establish credit history. As time progresses, a lack of credit history could hurt these students when they apply for a loan, such as a home mortgage.

Of course, for people who are facing mounting credit card debts, there are options available to them to return to stable financial ground. In such cases, consulting with a skilled bankruptcy attorney is a wise step.

Source: The Washington Times, “College students more wary of credit card debt,” Joshua Eferighe,” April 1, 2013.