In reversal of long-time trend, more credit card programs offered through colleges in 2017, report finds

Reversing a long-standing trend, credit card programs offered with colleges and universities or their affiliated entities increased in 2017, according to a report issued Friday by the federal consumer financial protection agency.

In its College credit card agreements, Annual Report to Congress, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB, formerly known as the BCFP) said the number of agreements between credit card issuers and educational or affiliated entities sponsoring credit card programs increased last year. The bureau also said that the number of issuers maintaining at least one such agreement also rose.

“However, accounts open pursuant to such agreements and the total amount paid by issuers to entities pursuant to such agreements continued to decline,” the agency said.

The annual report by the bureau is mandated by the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (CARD Act). The CARD Act requires CFPB to submit to Congress an annual public report listing information submitted to the bureau concerning agreements between credit card issuers and institutions of higher education, or certain organizations affiliated with such institutions, in connection with the issuance of credit cards.

Other key findings of the report include:

  • Alumni associations remain the predominant type of educational or affiliated entity which partners with issuers in offering credit cards to student. “Fluctuations in the proportion of the agreements between issuers and entities attributable to each type of entity were small and did not appear to represent an obvious trend,” the report states.
  • The largest agreements continue to account for a large share of the payments made by issuers to educational or affiliated entities, with the 10 most-lucrative agreements representing 41% of all payments by issuers.

College credit card agreements 2018