Student credit card accounts reduced but still problematic

While the number of credit cards owned by those under the age of 21 is falling, some teens are still exploiting loopholes in consumer protection laws to get new accounts.

A recent study by Sallie Mae found that 49 percent of students between the ages of 18 and 21 had a credit card in 2010, down from 76 percent the year before, but that many are still able to acquire such an account by exploiting unclear wording in the regulations, according to a report from Harlingen, Texas, television station KGBT. Many are ducking requirements that they provide proof of sufficient income to pay their bills because there is no law requiring that lenders verify the information.

In addition, the law requiring co-signers for those who do not have sufficient income only stipulates that the other person on the account be over 21, the report said. There is no rule stating that it has to be a parent or guardian.

The average college student now graduates with thousands of dollars in debt spread across a number of credit card accounts.