Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Issues Report Finding a Continued Decline in College Credit Card Agreements in 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) today released a report on the agreements signed between credit card issuers and colleges, or organizations affiliated with colleges, finding that the market for college credit cards continued its general trend of decline in 2020. The report also finds that agreements with alumni associations continued to make up the largest part of this market, as defined by the number of agreements, the number of accounts, and the amounts of payments made by issuers to their counterparties. Today’s report is the twelfth annual college credit card report issued as required by the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (“CARD Act”).
“The CFPB remains steadfast in its efforts to ensure our financial markets work for consumers, responsible providers, and the economy as a whole, especially for students,” said CFPB Acting Director Uejio. “Our duty to collect and publish data on these credit card agreements supports transparency and an informed public.”
The regulations implementing section 305 of the CARD Act require credit card issuers to submit annually to the CFPB the terms and conditions of any college credit card agreement that was in effect at any time during the preceding calendar year between an issuer and an institution of higher education. The same requirement applies to agreements between an issuer and an affiliated organization of an institution of higher education, such as an alumni organization or a foundation. Today’s report also finds that, of the 179 issuer agreements for 2020: 

  • agreements with alumni associations dominate the market, reflecting a general trend of predominance of such agreements;
  • the total volume of payments by issuers shrunk to $20,882,930, from $24,980,457 in 2019; and 
  • 10% of active 2019 agreements were terminated during the year, representing just under 5% of the 546,547 open accounts.

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