Give Them Some Credit

Financiers Use Web Sites To Educate College Kids

Several credit card companies provide online advice to young credit card holders.

Some credit card sites also present special youth-oriented offers at the same time as they are providing advice and caution to credit card novices.

For example, American Express' student area lists travel services and special offers, which are frequently updated, it promises. Directly below, a student can find its prudent Money Management Tools.

Rank It is Visa's youth-oriented site, sprinkled with humor and animation. ("A sock drawer with no singles" is one response to a pop quiz on defining success.) Financial advice is offered on the left side; the special offers are provided on the right. The Web "curriculum" includes budgeting, credit card tips and worksheets and tools (including a game, Choices & Decisions). Visa offers promotions including ski and snowboarding trips and a 20 percent discount on snowboarding gear.

MasterCard's student area, called MasterQuad, presents a colorful cartoonish representation of student life. Click on different areas of this graphic to find answers to questions on credit cards and Money Management 101. Also included in the mix are special offers and practical advice on careers.

MNBA's Money Matters for Students is focused exclusively on fiscal education. Topics include an introduction to credit, establishing credit, keeping fiscally fit, security and resources. There's also a link for parents.

First USA's Web site advertises its affinity programs, or partner cards, for all sets of causes and groups, including college communities. In its list of colleges, more than 60 schools are cited, from Arkansas State University to Xavier University.

When students click on specific Web sites created for individual schools, like Cornell, Duke University and Florida Sate University, they can find a link, Credit Advisor, to give them basic advice on credit card use.

By Marjorie Backman. ©MMI, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved