Rep. Duncan Wants Credit Card Protection for Students

By: Stacy McCloud
By: Stacy McCloud

Knoxville (WVLT) - On many college campuses, many times, the first person students are greeted with is a representative of a credit card company.

Congressman Jimmy Duncan says when you pile credit card debt onto an all time high in student loan debt, you've got major problems for new graduates.

So he's presented a bill to congress that he thinks would drastically change that.

Volunteer TV’s Stacy McCloud explains.

Ask many college students and they'll tell you, the only way they can continue their education is by getting student loans.

If that's not enough debt, many students also fall into a credit card trap with not just one, but several cards maxed out!

"It's like play money and a lot of people get pretty far in debt before they realize it's happened to them,” Tennessee Republican Representative John Duncan, Jr. says it's a problem that could easily be improved, if legislation he has presented would pass.

It's called the Student Credit Card Protection Act.

It would assure that credit card companies take responsibility for what Duncan calls unfair lending practices.

Provisions would include: limiting credit lines to 20 percent of a students annual income, $500 max without a co-signer.

Increases in credit would only be allowed over time, if prompt payments were being made.

Creditors would be required to obtain proof of income, income history, and credit history before approving an application and students with no income would be limited to just one credit card at a time.

"This bill is simply a way to try to call attention to that problem in hopes of getting these credit card companies to reform some of their practices and possibly alert students and families of the dangers of use of credit cards,” Duncan says.

Duncan admits the likelihood of the bill passing isn't good. A similar bill was introduced to Congress in 1999, and he has introduced this bill every Congress since.

"The odds are against this bill passing just to be frank," the congressman says.

Congressman Duncan and a New York Democrat representative introduced the bill, the next step he says is gaining some support.

Duncan says he isn't optimistic the bill will pass because the big credit card companies have a lot of power within the US Congress, because of their large campaigning contributions.

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