Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Credit Card Companies Develop New Tactics to Maintain Profits

The credit card companies were fleecing us with late fees and increased interest rates for late payments for years. 

They made it seem that the late fees were a deterrent, and that the increased interest rates were justifiable because the record of a late payment was an indicator of greater risk for them. 

The fact of the matter though is that the credit card companies actually wanted us to make late payments and to pay minimum balances.  The profits they were reaping from late fees and so-called default interest rates were astounding.

Now that consumer protection laws have been passed to reign in the credit card company excess of the past decade, the credit card companies have to come up with new ways to replace all of that lost profit.

In other words, they are finding new ways to fleece consumers.

From the Wall Street Journal:

"Mr. Condon says he was shocked when he opened his credit-card statement dated June 18 and saw that Discover had charged him $39 for a late payment—and had upped his interest rate on future purchases from 17% to 24.99%. He says the company considered him late because he paid on June 14, instead of June 13, a Sunday."

I love my Discover card, but I realize that Discover is not my friend, and I try to beat them at their own game.  My worry is that many consumers simply don't have the wherewithal to effectively outwit these companies.

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