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Credit Card Companies May Not Target Minors

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

Now let's talk about protection from a different kind of predators, in particular, creditors. Young adults are one target of the sweeping credit card reform bill that just passed Congress and awaits the president's signature. The new legislation limits credit card companies marketing to young people.

NPR's Wendy Kaufman has more.

WENDY KAUFMAN: Young adults under the age of 21 who want a credit card in their own name will have to show an independent source of income or they'll have to get a co-signer, typically a parent or guardian. The provisions were designed to keep young people from getting deeply into debt with their credit cards. Not surprisingly, the American Bankers Association isn't thrilled with this or many other provisions of the new legislation. Here's the association's Peter Garuccio.

Mr. PETER GARUCCIO (Spokesman, American Bankers Association): We understand that policymakers felt a need to provide some additional protections in this area. But our concern is that responsible adults in this group will be limited in their ability to get credit cards.

KAUFMAN: On the other hand, Christine Lindstrom says the legislation is definitely needed. She is with the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, which survey college students about debt.

Ms. CHRISTINE LINDSTROM (Program Director, U.S. Public Interest Research Group): And credit card companies unfairly targeted them with bad terms and conditions and aggressive marketing.

KAUFMAN: How much aggressive marketing there is, is the subject of some debate. As to the amount of debt young people have, it varies tremendously just like it does among older adults.

Wendy Kaufman, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Wendy Kaufman