Photo courtesy flickr user szlea
What are t-shirt credit cards you ask? Well, remember the first week of college every year and those credit cards offered ? And after you signed-up you received an awesome t-shirt, duh. Okay, maybe I made up that term, but in general I’m referring to those too hard to pass up offers that offer to expand your wardrobe or provide you a free lunch. Some offer cool shirts that read “College,” fake pairs of Oakleys (foakleys), a free pizza, flashlights, and more. If I remember correctly there was a time when vendors were giving out gift cards too!
When I was in college, I was a sucker for these, I signed up for three! (2 shirts, 1 foakley) and even almost signed my fraternity up to ‘fundraise’ with this too, (we’d get $8 per sucker we sign-up) but we just never got around to it.
In the Business section of the October 11 issue of the Los Angeles Times, there is a great article by Kathy Kristof titled “Colleges urged to rein in credit card companies’ activities on campus.” Unfortunately for many college students they will never see this article before they sign-up for these cards.
So here are 3 reasons why we think you should pass on these great offers:
1. What if it’s complete BS? Really. Think about if this was just an elaborate scam to acquire student addresses and then do damage (i.e. steal your financial aid check, ruin your credit, identity theft). The person signing you up could be in on it, or have no clue and think he is working for a legit company. Does that “free” t-shirt still seem appealing?
2. There are better offers elsewhere. Just because you sign-up here does not mean you will be approved for the card. You must remember that these cards target college students and with that comes higher interest rates and stricter terms, not to mention some have annual fees.
3. In 3 weeks time you won’t care or use what you just got. If it was a free lunch, it’s long gone by now. The hip t-shirt has turned into a gym shirt (which you already have plenty of), and the fake sunglasses have gotten so scratched up that you can use them as night shades.
So, the next time you think about signing up for one of these offers, be prepared. We know those college t-shirts are cool, but after 100 other people have it… not so much. Our suggestion?
It’s all about the highschool t-shirts! Rock on.