On the heels of yesterday's rant, I got a credit card offer that is so loaded with fees it's comical.
It's for a Mastercard from Premier Bank. The APR is 9.9% (Which I've said is the threshold of acceptable) and the penalty rates are 19.9%.
Good news first; I can't find anything about universal default anywhere on the disclosures. I have to conclude that they don't do this.
The card has a minimum credit limit of $250 to start.
There's an arbitration clause. That means when they jerk you around with fees for services you never requested and grant you unwanted credit limit increases (for a $25 fee each time), you can't sue them. You have to enter into arbitration if there's any dispute related to your account. This includes class actions, which this credit card company is begging for. The arbitration clause applies to the credit card company as well, except when it comes to collection activities on your account. They still get to sue you then.
Also, they disclose in the fine print that they fully intend to share your name and address with marketing companies and "persons or entities related to the bank by common ownership or corporate control," whatever that means.
Now, let's look at fees.
To start the account, one would pay the following fees:
Annual fee: $48
Account set up fee: $29
Program fee: $95
Participation fee: $72
That's $244 so far.
Order a 2nd credit card, that's another $20 fee.
Monthly account maintenance fee of $3.
Internet access fee of $3.95
Late fees: $25
Overlimit fee: $25
Credit limit increase fee: $25 (assessed automatically every 6 months, at which time you have 30 days to request in writing that they refund the fee and return your credit limit to where it was)
I wouldn't recommend this card to my worst enemy.
So, is this credit card company EVIL?
No. They're heartless. They're not capable of evil, because they're not a person, they're a corporation. Corporations aren't people, despite our legal system's extension of civil rights to them. Their goal is to take as much of your money as possible while providing the least possible benefit to you that you will allow.
Understand that, and keep these companies as far from you as you can. Don't anthropomorphize them. Giving them characteristics like "evil" buys into the mentality that corporations are like people and therefore deserving of the same rights as you and me, and that's flawed thinking. Thinking of them as monsters doesn't get you anywhere. Recognize your role in the marketing transaction and ignore their attempts to make you their debtor.
The lesson here is: 1.)Read the fine print. If they are anything like this creditor, don't do business with them. 2.) Shred any unsolicited credit card offers you get. Ditto to any checks from credit card companies that constitute a loan you have to repay (that is, the only check I'd cash from a credit card company is a refund check... not that you'll see those very often). 3.) Opt out. The only reason I still get these offers is I haven't opted out deliberately; partly for the sake of this blog, partly to keep me aware of the practices of the credit industry. I honestly wouldn't have believed some of the fees on this credit card if I hadn't seen the application myself.
OPT OUT of pre-screened credit offers by calling 1.888.567.8688. Please do it today if you haven't already.