Comment for 1026.57 - Reporting and Marketing Rules for College Student Open-End Credit
57(a)(1) College student credit card
1. Definition. The definition of college student credit card excludes home-equity lines of credit accessed by credit cards and overdraft lines of credit accessed by debit cards. A college student credit card includes a college affinity card within the meaning of TILA section 127(r)(1)(A). In addition, a card may fall within the scope of the definition regardless of the fact that it is not intentionally targeted at or marketed to college students. For example, an agreement between a college and a card issuer may provide for marketing of credit cards to alumni, faculty, staff, and other non-student consumers who have a relationship with the college, but also contain provisions that contemplate the issuance of cards to students. A credit card issued to a student at the college in connection with such an agreement qualifies as a college student credit card.
57(a)(5) College credit card agreement
1. Definition. Section 1026.57(a)(5) defines “college credit card agreement” to include any business, marketing or promotional agreement between a card issuer and a college or university (or an affiliated organization, such as an alumni club or a foundation) if the agreement provides for the issuance of credit cards to full-time or part-time students. Business, marketing or promotional agreements may include a broad range of arrangements between a card issuer and an institution of higher education or affiliated organization, including arrangements that do not meet the criteria to be considered college affinity card agreements as discussed in TILA section 127(r)(1)(A). For example, TILA section 127(r)(1)(A) specifies that under a college affinity card agreement, the card issuer has agreed to make a donation to the institution or affiliated organization, the card issuer has agreed to offer discounted terms to the consumer, or the credit card will display pictures, symbols, or words identified with the institution or affiliated organization; even if these conditions are not met, an agreement may qualify as a college credit card agreement, if the agreement is a business, marketing or promotional agreement that contemplates the issuance of college student credit cards to college students currently enrolled (either full-time or part-time) at the institution. An agreement may qualify as a college credit card agreement even if marketing of cards under the agreement is targeted at alumni, faculty, staff, and other non-student consumers, as long as cards may also be issued to students in connection with the agreement.
57(b) Public disclosure of agreements
1. Public disclosure. Section 1026.57(b) requires an institution of higher education to publicly disclose any contract or other agreement made with a card issuer or creditor for the purpose of marketing a credit card. Examples of publicly disclosing such contracts or agreements include, but are not limited to, posting such contracts or agreements on the institution's Web site or making such contracts or agreements available upon request, provided the procedures for requesting the documents are reasonable and free of cost to the requestor, and the requested contracts or agreements are provided within a reasonable time frame.
2. Redaction prohibited. An institution of higher education must publicly disclose any contract or other agreement made with a card issuer for the purpose of marketing a credit card in its entirety and may not redact any portion of such contract or agreement. Any clause existing in such contracts or agreements, providing for the confidentiality of any portion of the contract or agreement, would be invalid to the extent it restricts the ability of the institution of higher education to publicly disclose the contract or agreement in its entirety.
57(c) Prohibited inducements
1. Tangible item clarified. A tangible item includes any physical item, such as a gift card, a t-shirt, or a magazine subscription, that a card issuer or creditor offers to induce a college student to apply for or open an open-end consumer credit plan offered by such card issuer or creditor. Tangible items do not include non-physical inducements such as discounts, rewards points, or promotional credit terms.
2. Inducement clarified. If a tangible item is offered to a person whether or not that person applies for or opens an open-end consumer credit plan, the tangible item has not been offered to induce the person to apply for or open the plan. For example, refreshments offered to a college student on campus that are not conditioned on whether the student has applied for or agreed to open an open-end consumer credit plan would not violate § 1026.57(c).
3. Near campus clarified. A location that is within 1,000 feet of the border of the campus of an institution of higher education, as defined by the institution of higher education, is considered near the campus of an institution of higher education.
4. Mailings included. The prohibition in § 1026.57(c) on offering a tangible item to a college student to induce such student to apply for or open an open-end consumer credit plan offered by such card issuer or creditor applies to any solicitation or application mailed to a college student at an address on or near the campus of an institution of higher education.
5. Related event clarified. An event is related to an institution of higher education if the marketing of such event uses the name, emblem, mascot, or logo of an institution of higher education, or other words, pictures, symbols identified with an institution of higher education in a way that implies that the institution of higher education endorses or otherwise sponsors the event.
6. Reasonable procedures for determining if applicant is a student. Section 1026.57(c) applies solely to offering a tangible item to a college student. Therefore, a card issuer or creditor may offer any person who is not a college student a tangible item to induce such person to apply for or open an open-end consumer credit plan offered by such card issuer or creditor, on campus, near campus, or at an event sponsored by or related to an institution of higher education. The card issuer or creditor must have reasonable procedures for determining whether an applicant is a college student before giving the applicant the tangible item. For example, a card issuer or creditor may ask whether the applicant is a college student as part of the application process. The card issuer or creditor may rely on the representations made by the applicant.
57(d) Annual report to the Bureau
57(d)(2) Contents of report
1. Memorandum of understanding. Section 1026.57(d)(2) requires that the report to the Bureau include, among other items, a copy of any memorandum of understanding between the card issuer and the institution (or affiliated organization) that “directly or indirectly relates to the college credit card agreement or that controls or directs any obligations or distribution of benefits between any such entities.” Such a memorandum of understanding includes any document that amends the college credit card agreement, or that constitutes a further agreement between the parties as to the interpretation or administration of the agreement. For example, a memorandum of understanding required to be included in the report would include a document that provides details on the dollar amounts of payments from the card issuer to the university, to supplement the original agreement which only provided for payments in general terms (e.g., as a percentage). A memorandum of understanding for these purposes would not include email (or other) messages that merely discuss matters such as the addresses to which payments should be sent or the names of contact persons for carrying out the agreement.