unmarketing : release the pressure

Sunday, June 05, 2005 at 1:29:00 PM

credit cards should be called "go directly to debt" cards

Credit cards and credit card debt is one of the most insidious financial evils in the world today. Far too many people are living beyond their means, and they are encouraged to do so by credit card companies. Every few minutes, we see a commercial showing average people living the Great Life © thanks to their platinum debt cards. Can't afford that fine-dining experience? Charge it!

Consumer Action is a San Francisco-based non-profit organization that has

continued to serve consumers nationwide by advancing consumer rights, referring consumers to complaint-handling agencies through our free hotline, publishing educational materials in Chinese, English, Korean, Spanish, Vietnamese and other languages, advocating for consumers in the media and before lawmakers, and comparing prices on credit cards, bank accounts, and long distance services.

According to their March 2003 report on credit cards:

* More than one-third of surveyed issuers said they will raise existing cardholders’ rates because of their poor credit record with other creditors—even if the cardholder has made no late payments or other missteps with the card in question.
* The vast majority of surveyed cards have significantly higher penalty rates that are triggered by one or two late payments in a period of six months to a year.
* One-fifth of surveyed issuers have shifted to tiered late payments, which Consumer Action interprets as a deceptive way of charging higher-than-average late fees.
* The number of cards with $35 late fees has more than doubled from last year.
* More than half the cards surveyed require cardholders to pay only 2% of the monthly balance each month—a disturbing trend that dramatically increases the overall interest paid by cardholders.
* More than one-third of surveyed institutions will not provide a firm annual percentage rate (APR) until they have screened the applicant’s credit history.

“Every year we uncover more anti-consumer practices in the industry,” said Sherry, Consumer Action’s editorial director. “So many of these policies seem greedy and short-sighted. If you look at them as a whole—tiny minimum monthly payments, outrageous late fees and significantly higher penalty rates—they seem designed to drive cardholders into bankruptcy.”

Do yourself a favor, people. Cut up the credit cards. Don't use them. End it now, before you find yourself a victim of credit card debt.

Anonymous Anonymous posted stuff

Or better yet, lobby for mandatory personal finance classes in high school as a requirement for graduation.  


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