60 Minutes recently did a story about this very subject. Colleges which are making millions of dollars for letting banks hawk their credit cards, right on campus: should the banks be allowed to do this? In a nutshell, the story was based around a student, Sean Moyer, who hanged himself after accumulating $14,000 in debt with the cards he obtained. On this note, it is needless to say that the story was more than just a little biased towards the "they shouldn't be doing it" side.

While my condolences go out to the family of Mr. Moyer, I found it odd and unfair that both his mother and the host of this particular segment placed the blame squarely on the credit card vendors who gave Mr. Moyer the credit cards in the first place.

"Anybody that has 18-year-olds knows they are not adults. I don't care what the law says. They are 18 one minute; they are 13 the other." O'Donnell, Sean's mother, says.

Regardless of whether his mother agrees with the law or not, the fact remains that a person is indeed considered an adult at 18 years old (where ever his college is located, anyway). This student can legally smoke, vote, watch pornos, the whole deal. In addition, he is legally allowed to hold a credit card. At 18 years old, there is a demand for credit cards.

Keeping this in mind, it goes against the fundamentals of the USA's capitalist system to deny supply to a legal demand. Of course, the bank moguls are out to make a profit just like anyone else. Therefore, when a company supplies someone with anything legal that there is a demand for, can we really blame the company for providing that service/product? Especially when the law explicitly permits them to do so?

The fact of the matter: these 18 year old college students are considered adults. If one opposes this, it is up for that person to take it up with their district representative to raise the adult "age barrier," not to point fingers at people running entirely legitimate businesses.

When colleges allow banks to market their cards,
1. The colleges and universities make money by giving XYZ Bank exclusive hawking rights for their campus.
2. The banks make money (off the interest of the cards).
3. The students learn how to manage and build credit with their very own credit card.

If these adults run into trouble with these cards, it is due to their own irresponsible behavior and not the fault of the supplier. Nor is it the duty of the supplier to question what the law dictates, ie. "although they are technically adults, do they really know the concept of money?" They are in no position to have to make these considerations. If you have a problem with this, you must take it up with your local rep and not with the vendors who are answering the demand. "You shouldn't have given it to me, because you should've known that I wouldn't be able to handle it" does not cut it. You're an adult now.

dragoon says: It's remarkable how many people think individuals aren't responsible for their behavior anymore, just groups or even just society.
jop, strawberry, etoile say: The drinking limit in the US in 21, not 18. (wh00t's apologies.. this Canadian has modified the w/u)