Issuers Graduate to the Risky, but Lucrative, College
Card Marketing (08/00) Vol. 4, No. 7 p.12; Tapas, Tina D.

According to United College Marketing Services, 9.2 million students are enrolled in four-year colleges, and 47 percent do not have credit cards. Students generally have low incomes and little or poor credit history, resulting in a higher risk market. But many card issuers are willing to accept that risk to gain first-in-wallet brand loyalty. In its attempt to gain the first-in-wallet edge, issuers are targeting marketing at younger and younger audiences, especially high school and college students. College students receive between 15 and 20 credit card solicitations in the mail each semester, and with a sign-up rate of 34 percent, college is the most successful distribution channel. While on-campus representatives are another effective way to reach students, many institutions are beginning to eschew the practice because students sign up for a card to receive gifts before they understand how to use cards responsibly. Another effective channel to reach students is over the Internet, because the majority of college students have Internet access. Online marketing is expected to be one of the most effective ways to reach students in the future. Still, discount airline vouchers and low-rate calling cards are currently some of the best promotion tools used to attract college students.

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