Card companies offering responsible-use products to students

The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act has provided a number of safeguards for consumers, with many of the protections designed specifically for individuals younger than 21.

The legislation prevents credit card companies from using free gifts on college campuses to attract under-age customers. In addition, consumers who are under 21 must obtain an adult co-signer or show evidence of financial independence if they want to obtain a credit card.

Despite the new rules, card companies are not completely turning their backs on this demographic, according to the Chicago Tribune.

For example, Capital One recently launched the Journey Student Rewards card, which offers customers a slightly higher "cash back" bonus for qualifying purchases during any month they pay their balance in full and on time, the report said.

Cards like these promote positive payment behavior and responsible credit use. But even students who manage their bills effectively could still experience credit troubles because their card issuer may report inaccurate information about their accounts to the credit bureaus.

Consumers who spot an unfair or problematic item on their credit reports have the right to dispute the mark. Often, individuals suffering from a credit reporting error will seek out the services of a credit repair attorney, who may be able to work with the credit bureaus to remove the blemish.