First Premier Bank Credit Cards… Now at 79.9% Interest!

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Here’s something you don’t see every day: A credit card with a $75 dollar annual fee, a $300 limit, a $29 penalty for being late or over limit… and an interest rate of 79.9 percent?  Welcome to First Premier Bank, a sub-prime credit card issuer.

First Premier is just following the new regulations found in the Credit Card Reform Bill passed by Congress and signed by our President this past year.  Apparently, Congress set out to curb the abuse that has become all-too-common in the credit card industry… you know, like exorbitant fees and interest rates from 20-40%… so they asked the banking lobby to come up with something acceptable and this is the result.  So, there should be no one surprised when other credit card issuers follow suit as expected.

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Isn’t this whole banks-running-the-country thing working out fabulously?

First Premier does have a positive side.  They’re okay with people that have “less-than-perfect credit,” which is nice.  And they guarantee a 60-second status confirmation.

So, I suppose, in terms of customer service, First Premier is a gem.  They also say that there are no hidden fees, and it’s true… the 79% interest rate, the $75 annual fee, and the $29 penalty for being late or going over the $300 limit are all disclosed in the attached form.

Currently, First Premier cards come with a minimum of $256 in fees in year one, and you get a credit line of $250, which is such a deal, I’ve never seen.  Starting in February, however, as a result of the credit card reform bill passed by the banking lobby this year… I mean by Congress, such fees will be capped at 25 percent of a card’s credit line.  So, hurray for Congress for passing such a tough law limiting the bank’s power to charge fees to credit card holders.

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The only problem is that Congress forgot to place a limit on the interest rates charged by credit card companies.  Fees… limit them.  Interest rates?  Let them eat cake.

Yes folks, it’s true… the banking lobby strikes yet again.  No limit on interest rates charged by credit cards.  It’s funny too, because I could have sworn there was a cap of 390% voted in, but maybe I was wrong and it ended up limitless.  I’m not going to look it up though.  I don’t care in the least.  Limitless or 390% isn’t something I’m interested in knowing.  Either way, someone should be beaten to death, if you ask me.

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Of course, First Premier only goes after people with bad credit who can’t get approved for other cards, and thanks to First Premier… they never will.  Of course, it’s also a group that tends to lean on credit too, so it’s nice to know that First Premier is really sticking it to the people at the bottom, isn’t it?  Because they have so much going for them already.

And let’s not forget to send a great big THANK YOU to our elected representatives in Congress and to our President… A REAL MAN OF THE PEOPLE… for giving us the Credit Card Reform Bill this year!  Thanks Guys in Congress!  Thank you, Barack Obama!  I hope your children grow up to read about this particular aspect of your career.

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To comply with the new law, the First Premier Bank says it will no longer offer the card that has $256 in first-year fees as of Feb. 21, 2010.  However, they added, customers will still be able to use their existing cards, so thank goodness for that.

I can’t help but wonder how they arrived at the 79.9% interest rate.  I suppose they felt that 89.9% would have been offensive.  And can you imagine the banking lobbyists the night after they got this done?  Shots of Patron Silver all around!  Yeehah!  Singing: I’m Proud to be an American.

First Premier is the 10th largest issuer of MasterCard and Visa cards in the country, with more than 3.5 million customers.

Some people are concerned that First Premier is going to tighten up and not issue cards to just anyone anymore.  And they apparently worry that such a move could be a blow to those who rely on the card.

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Some unbelievable pantload, by the name of Odysseas Papadimitriou, who is the CEO of CardHub.com, whatever that is, told MSNBC: “Even when the cost of credit is astronomical, for people in true emergencies, it’s much better than not having access to credit.”

I’m not kidding about this… I don’t like my country anymore.  Not right now.  And never, if this is what’s going to be allowed.  Obama… Congress… you’re going way too far… I’m telling you… way too God damn far…

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Mandelman out.


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