Credit card offers that are traps set for the unwary
The good people at Synovate Mail Monitor spend their working lives tracking and analyzing credit card offers that are mailed to consumers. It’s not a career that would suit everyone, and its hard to imagine that they get many gate-crashers at their Christmas parties, but they do valuable work.
For example, last month they revealed that, during the second quarter of 2010, U.S. households were in receipt of 640.3 million credit card offers, which was 83 percent up on the same time in 2009. During that 2010 quarter, Chase sent out four times as many solicitations as it did during the same period last year, and Citi tripled its mailings between the first and second quarters of this year.
Credit card companies that think you’re a business
Even if you’re retired or an employee, you may have found a couple of solicitations for business credit cards among the piles of junk mail you’ve received recently. That’s odd. Credit card companies are famous for their slick marketing, and it’s not generally like them to buy the sort of poor quality mailing list that has you down as a business when you’re not.
Well, mystery solved. There’s a good chance that the issuers who sent those business credit card offers knew you weren’t a business. And they wanted you to sign up for those cards in spite of that.
Credit cards for businesses
Why would a card issuer want you, an individual consumer, to take a card that’s designed for businesses? Simple. Business credit cards were specifically excluded from last year’s Credit CARD Act. So all those extra protections from credit card rates, fees, payment cycles and so on won’t apply to the business card that you’re being offered.
Small wonder that Synovate Mail Monitor says that the volume of business credit card mailings jumped 256 percent between the first quarters of 2009 and 2010.
Last Wednesday, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) wrote to the Federal Reserve, asking it to look into these solicitations, and to crack down on card issuers who may be tricking consumers into signing credit card applications for inappropriate corporate products. It was a worthy initiative, but, judging from the Fed’s responses to previous pleas to side with consumers against banks, he might just as well have waited until December and sent a note to Santa.
Credit cards for businesses can be good
Of course, if you are a businessperson, a corporate credit card can be a valuable tool. Most credit card companies offer some form of business card, but perhaps American Express is most famous for them.
Disclaimer:The information in this article is believed to be accurate as of the date it was written. Please keep in mind that credit card offers change frequently. Therefore, we cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in this article. Reasonable efforts are made to maintain accurate information. See the online credit card application for full terms and conditions on offers and rewards. Please verify all terms and conditions of any credit card prior to applying.
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