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College credit card earnings drop

By Marcie Geffner · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Posted: 2 pm ET

College credit card affinity programs earned approximately $73 million last year.

Still, that total was a 13 percent decline from more than $84 million educational institutions earned from credit card programs in 2009, according to a brand-new report released this month by the federal government.

The July 2011 "Federal Reserve Board of Governors Report to Congress on College Credit Card Agreements" contains payment and account information for more than 1,000 contracts between credit card issuers and colleges, universities, alumni associations, foundations and other affiliates throughout the U.S.

More stats:

  • Twenty-one credit card issuers had agreements with colleges in 2010, up slightly from 18 in 2009.
  • Issuers had 1,004 agreements with colleges in place in 2010, a drop from 1,045 in 2009.
  • The annual number of new accounts opened dropped from 55,747 in 2009 to 46,360 in 2010.
  • The number of accounts open at year-end slipped from approximately 2 million in 2009 to 1.7 million in 2010.

An online database accompanying the new report offers the name, city, state, issuer, total payments, number of open accounts and status of the 1,004 agreements in effect during 2010. Also included is the full text of those agreements. The database is searchable by card issuer, educational institution or organization and geographic location.

The largest number of agreements, by far, were with FIA Card Services, which had 848 agreements, more than 15 times the number held by any other issuer, according to the report. The second and third largest issuers on the list, by number of agreements, were U.S. Bank National Association and Chase Bank USA, which held 54 and 28 agreements, respectively. The issuer with the largest number of new agreements was UMB Bank, which added 17 college-connected contracts in 2010.

The report doesn't reveal how much the colleges and universities budgeted to promote their affinity programs or whether the programs were profitable and if so, how the money was spent.

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff

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