Sub-subprime

There is no shortage of terrible credit-card offers out there, and if you were reading this site way back in 2002, you may have seen a reference to a deal offered by First Premier Bank of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, which struck me as something less than wonderful. Said I at the time:

The terms for this card range from not too bad (18.9 percent APR, 25-day grace period on new purchases) to stiff ($50 annual fee) to preposterous ($119 “acceptance fee”, $72 annual “participation fee” over and above the $50).

As it happens, they’ve sent me their latest offer, and it has improved in one regard: the grace period on new purchases is now 27 days. However, the annual fee has gone to $175 for the first year, $49 thereafter, and there’s a “monthly servicing fee” of $14.50, which, they are careful to spell out, is $174 a year. And the APR? Thirty-six percent.

I’ll give them this much: none of this is in Extremely Tiny Print, and everything I’ve mentioned is explained when necessary. Still, nothing moves me to accept this “pre-approved” account.





4 comments

  1. JT »

    1 November 2015 · 10:22 am

    I thought I was joking when I told a joke about a Mafia Mastercard (87% interest compounded instantly).

  2. Bill Peschel »

    1 November 2015 · 10:49 am

    I wouldn’t grant them even that much credit. Wasn’t that the result of a consumer law recently passed that forced them to disclose their terms that way?

  3. CGHill »

    1 November 2015 · 10:54 am

    To some extent, yes. But there are still ways to obscure stuff while adhering to the letter of the law, a few of which I’ve seen of late: sticking it in the middle of a separate booklet instead of at the beginning seems to be fairly popular these days.

    It may be the equivalent of a syndrome one often sees on the highway: nobody drives more slowly than the guy who just got a ticket.

  4. Georganna Hancock (@GLHancock) »

    1 November 2015 · 11:11 am

    Love the variety in bank notifications: Chase/Amazon sent large print 3-page chart; Citi sent 16 pages of single-spaced text. Both said the same things (law allows them to jack up rates) but Citi said changes were due to customer requests! Yeah, never!

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