If you’re in debt, here’s an opportunity to be featured in Businessweek

Ramit Sethi · July 23rd, 2007

Jessica Silver-Greenberg, a Businessweek reporter, got in touch with me today. If you’re struggling with credit card debt, she wants to talk to you for an an upcoming Businessweek article.

My name is Jessica Silver-Greenberg and I am a Businessweek reporter working on a story about credit card debt amongst college students. We are looking at the prevalence of credit card debt and how credit card companies market and ultimately deceive college aged students with fluctuating interest rates and fine print deception. I am looking for college students or very recent college grads who are struggling with credit card debt. I would love to interview anyone who fits this description for the article.

You can contact me at

Quiz: What is your earning potential? Choose the answer you agree with the most
View Results

For more on this, check out the 130+ unbelievable stories about debt from iwillteachyoutoberich readers here.

Do you know your actual earning potential?

Get started with the Earning Potential quiz. Get a custom report based on your unique strengths, and discover how to start making extra money — in as little as an hour.

Start The Quiz

Takes 3 min


  1. Personally, I’m tired of the same ol’ story about how credit card companies maliciously prey on young card users by using fluctuating interest rates and fine print deception. I wish journalists would get to the heart of the matter…

    It’s the FREE T-SHIRTS that lure us in and get us to sign up for that new cards with high annual fees, high interest rates, and no grace period.

  2. Its the FREE T-SHIRTS they give us when we are DRUNK on our way to the stadium or inside of the stadium during football games!

    I would e-mail her, but I knew full well what I was doing when I got into 6k in alcohol related credit card debt during college. I tried/got low rates on my cards, and never signed up for those stupid free t-shirt things. I’m just getting screwed now with everyone supposedly upping rates. My 8.9% cards (fixed, always paid more than the minimum on time) have suddenly jumped up to 15% and 23%…(I actually read those stupid disclosure things, and knew they were going up, but was in the process of moving, and needed those cards/couldn’t get new ones in time)

  3. April D

    You got a card for the free t-shirt? That’s just stupid. I did it for a frisbee.

  4. Starving Artist

    Yep. It’s been about ten years and I still have that free t-shirt. When I get my credit card debt FINALLY paid off in a few months, I’m burning the damn thing.

  5. hypatia

    Fooled? Well, I could see how it would happen. My mother forbade me to get one of those cards. She said the terms were unfair. Turns out cards geared towards boomers have much nicer terms. (Took me a while to get a CC, later, but there were other issues there.)

    I’ve never been in CC debt, but my girlfriend did get tripped up. She wasn’t fooled, either (her mother steered her to good cards), but she did get in a situation where she was spending her paycheck before it arrived. Between an $800 Verizon bill (which was more VZ’s mistake than hers because an incompetent employee said he put her on IN Network calling and didn’t) which she didn’t have the wherewithall to fight and her believing that her stipend would be paid as a lump sum (oops), she ended up with thousands on her cards one summer. Her grandparents bailed her out and she got things under control.

    Over the last year (since she left school and got a real job) I’ve been slowly working on her, getting her to save money and not spend ahead of herself. I can’t take credit, though–the last few months listening to the Dave Ramsey show have done most of the work. She’s like a new woman now. (I did get her to read The Millionaire Next Door and Smart Women Finish Rich. Oh yeah, and The Richest Man In Babylon last year also made a deep impression.)

    If the reporter is reading and would like something to go on, she should compare the terms on the cards pitched to students (with the free t-shirts) to cards pitched to 45 year olds. The boomer cards have travel insurance, car insurance, longer grace periods, yada yada. The student cards have exploding interest rates, giant late fees, etc. All CCs are not created equal. This is kind of a scandal, and has nothing to do with whether or not a college kid can handle debt. (Answer: probably no, but using a charge card and being in debt are not one and the same.)

  6. I was thinking the same thing, and the two previous commenters beat me to it.

    Yes, I have credit card debt that I’m aggravated at, but I knew full well what was happening and how the credit card companies would treat me. They did not deceive me, I read all the documentation and knew exactly what power they had.

    The only thing that I didn’t truly comprehend was the concept that I was borrowing against my future. I’m now IN my future and paying back my past. But I think that is a difficult concept for people, especially young people, to truly grasp through and through. Many don’t have a concept of the future to fully comprehend the ramifications of borrowing against it.

  7. Moneymonk

    I agree with Mike, this is more of the same. They have been movies, articles, blogs and radio shows about the danger of credit cards. It is time for students to take on some responsibility.

    I do not own a credit card. And I may never in the future after reading how deceptive these companies are.

  8. How things change….when i was a student, i applied for a credit card to get free T shirts, slinky’s and other crap. 10 years later, i only apply for credit cards that give around $200 worth of bonuses etc. Man, think about how much commission those guys who make u sign up make!!

    Getting credit card for foreign students are especially bad. We have ZERO idea on what this credit card means (at least in my time). Maybe its true for American students too…dont know!

    I remember getting my first card and it said “Platinum” on it. I was all physched up. Coz in my country, platinum means platinum. Only the ELITE get it. No limit bla bla bla.

  9. A Million Paths

    A lot of the movies/articles/ blogs about the dangers of credit card debt aren’t directed at young people, so they often don’t learn about the dangers until they’re in debt. I really think that there should be comprehensive financial information requires as part of the high school curriculum.

    It’s kind of ironic that it’s easier to get a card as a college student with no job and no credit history, then if you wait until you graduate and have a job.