College Student Credit Card Dangers

We found teens are finding ways to get around these new laws and it could be putting them in financial risk.

Molly Heilny was frustrated. The 20 year old college sophomore couldn't get a credit card.

"I don't really have anyone that could cosign so I could apply for a million credit cards and they're never going to give me one" said Molly.

That's because when the federal credit "CARD Act" went into effect it restricted anyone under 21 from getting a credit card unless they have someone over 21 cosign for it, or they can prove they have a source of income.

"The hypothesis behind that provision of the CARD Act was to make sure that consumers who are under 21 who are generally in school, do not have high paying jobs did not get into an excessive amount of credit card debt" said John Ulzheimer with

But some college students, experts say, are finding loopholes and creating ways to get around this. How you may ask?

"One of the ways that we've seen college kids do this and it's actually quite clever, is they're actually finding classmates who are in fact over 21 and do qualify under the CARD Act rules to cosign for them" said Ulzheimer.

One web advice column even fielded a question from an "over 21 year old" student asking if he should start charging students to cosign, thinking he'd make money doing it. Experts say paying to "piggy back" off someone's good credit is common, and it could really start to take off on college campuses.

"It's very possible that a whole industry could spring around consumers willing to sell or rent out their good credit to younger students who are having trouble establishing credit for the first time" said Gerri Detweiler, Author of "The Ultimate Credit Handbook".

Another option? Business credit cards: There's no age restriction, anyone can apply, and you don't even need to prove you have a business.

"It is a gaping loophole in the CARD Act and the credit card community is definitely taking advantage of it" said Ulzheimer.

Business credit cards do not have the same protection as consumer credit cars, they are still subject to rate increases and floating due dates; the things the credit "CARD Act" was designed to protect against.

Some students say they aren't surprised college students are getting crafty in this era of the credit crunch.

"Kids will find a way to get it if their parents do not cosign for it so I'm sure there are ways around it" said student Nikko Lara.

If you are considering signing off for someone under 21, you need to remember there's no such thing as "safe cosigning".

"When you cosign you are taking on legal liability for that debt so if the person you cosign for can't or doesn't pay, guess what, you're going to be the one getting the calls from the debt collectors" said Detweiler.

It's important to remember when you cosign for anyone that debt appears on your credit report for years to come, which can also impact your credit score if you ever apply for a mortgage or loan.

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