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13 Feb 2013

Credit Card Company Preys on Poor-Credit Consumers in Colorado Springs

Imagine a credit card that charged a 36 percent APR, slapped you with a fee when your credit limit increased and cost you $400 a year just to own -- yet, the company tells you they're doing you a favor.

It's a reality.

Our Colorado Springs bankruptcy attorneys know that credit cards with predatory lending practices are one of the main reasons so many people get embroiled in debt. We previously discussed how many people are choosing to avoid using credit cards in order to avoid having to seek debt relief or file for a Colorado Springs bankruptcy. This card represents one of the most shameful examples of why people are backing away.


The platinum card, distributed by First Premier, (FIRST PREMIER, if you can dig it) already has nearly 3 million customers, according to CNNMoney, and it solicits another 1.5 million every month. The company's CEO claims the business is doing people a favor, because the card is aimed at people with poor credit, who might otherwise not be able to get a credit card. The fees are justified, he said, because of the risk the company is taking on.

One has to wonder, though, whether customers who are already struggling financially could possibly beneift from being slammed with such outrageous fees.

The CEO of CardHub, which allows users to compare credit cards online before applying, was quoted by CNNMoney as saying that perhaps the worst of those fees involves a credit limit increase fee, which charges the customer 25 percent of whatever amount the limit is increased by. So if your spending limit  is increased by $200, you pay an automatic $50 fee. Another online credit card comparison site CEO says he knows of no other company that does that.

"While (First Premier) is bragging about helping people back on their feet, they're in fact beating people when they're down," he said.

We understand that credit cards can be very useful - they can help improve your credit score and sometimes, you can't make major purchases unless you have some credit history. But a card like this isn't your only option if your credit is bad.

One different option is a secured card, which come with lower fees because the card holder has to deposit their own money into the account. That mitigates the lender's risk, without forcing the card holder to be shackled by fees.

Stephen H. Swift

Managing Attorney
Law Office of Stephen H. Swift, P.C.

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