Don't co-sign on a credit card for your college student

One of the results of the credit card reform legislation that recently went into effect was a dramatic change in the ability of college students to access credit. Anyone under the age of 21 will now need, according to the bill, "financial information. . . indicating an independent means of repaying any obligation" in order to sign up for a credit card.

What exactly that even means is ambiguous. Ben Woolsey of CreditCards.com tells WalletPOP that "The Federal Reserve hasn't explicitly defined income requirements but rather has left that up to the individual issuers."

Some banks may require a payroll stub or bank statement, and others may ask the applicant for the name of the employer and annual income. According to Woolsey, a full-time student with an annual income of $5,000 could "probably" qualify for a credit card -- but with a limit of no more than $500.