Protect students from credit-card lures

This editorial appeared in the Kansas City Star.

Oh, the solicitations sound so good: easy money, free T-shirts, free meals. Apply Instantly!

But when it comes to credit cards and college students, Congress is right to focus some of its industry reform efforts on questionable tactics used to lure new card-holders. Bills pending in both the House and the Senate are attempting to better regulate firms soliciting students.

Some firms are clearly not seeking credit-worthy people when they sign up some students without doing credit checks. Such practices can lead to debts that the young people can ill afford.

Programs that educate at the middle and high school levels could be very effective in instilling sensible spending habits before credit problems occur. But credit-card issuers should do their part by clearly and fairly explaining policies and by ratcheting back costs and fees that have increased while billing periods shortened.