Poll Finds 36 Percent of Consumers Pay Off Student Loans with Credit Cards

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Consumer advocates have long sounded the alarm about credit cards marketing debt to students and recent college graduates., the most comprehensive free source for comparing credit card offers, recently held a poll that sheds new light on the subject of student loan debt.

It's encouraging to see that 64 percent of consumers aren't carrying student loan debt on their credit cards

In recent years, there has been increasing concern that many students leave college with more than just a degree; they also walk away with thousands in credit card debt., the most comprehensive free source for comparing credit card offers, recently asked site visitors how much student loan debt they currently have on their credit cards. The responses indicate that students may be more responsible with their credit cards than previously thought. spokesperson Beverly Harzog weighs in on the poll results, and on how the passing of the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure (CARD) Act could affect the student loan and credit card landscape. teamed up with -- a culinary community and directory of culinary arts schools -- to ask visitors: How much student loan debt do you have on your credit cards? Results were:

  •     Less than $5,000 -- 12 percent
  •     $5,000 to $10,000 -- 7 percent
  •     $10,000 to $20,000 -- 7 percent
  •     More than $20,000 -- 10 percent
  •     None -- 64 percent

"It's encouraging to see that 64 percent of consumers aren't carrying student loan debt on their credit cards," Harzog said. "But it's unfortunate that 17 percent have more than $10,000 in credit card debt due to the money they borrowed in college. However, for those without financial backing, it's a real challenge to meet the high cost of a college education, so it's not surprising that some people had to turn to credit cards."

Placing a large amount of student debt on a credit card runs the risk of starting post-college life on shaky financial ground. In addition, those who use cards could miss out on tax breaks such as deducting student loan interest from income tax returns.

On February 22, 2010, the third stage of the CARD Act took effect, delivering a much-needed blow in the fight against predatory lending and questionable reporting practices. While a victory for many consumers, some could find it more difficult to qualify for cards due to the new provisions.

"The CARD Act placed a lot of restrictions on students' access to credit cards," said Harzog. "I wouldn't be surprised to see the percent of students with credit card debt go down. The lack of credit card options, as well as lower credit limits, is likely to force both students and recent graduates to seek other types of financing, including Stafford loans or person-to-person lending."

For consumers who have already charged tuition or loan payments to their cards, Harzog offers a practical solution.

"Consumers who have considerable student loan debt on their credit cards should explore options to minimize the interest expense," Harzog said. "The available options will depend on credit history, but if possible, transferring a balance from a high-interest card to one with a zero-percent or low-interest introductory APR can save them money."

See the related article at Poll: 36% of Consumers Have Student Loan Debt on Credit Cards. has been educating consumers about credit cards since 1998 and has been featured by hundreds of media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Good Morning America, The New York Times, and The Today Show. Thanks to consumers, has become the most comprehensive free source for comparing credit card offers and has helped over a million people find the best credit cards for their individual needs.

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Jessica Austin


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