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Credit Cards for Food?

An interesting social commentary on how some credit card companies have become the new loan sharks and are able to charge exorbitant rates of interest that contribute to many people's paths toward bankruptcy. I am a major fan of personal responsibility for one's action, and many people in the United States have some significant issues with getting into debt, but that is little excuse for charging outrageous interest rates.

Late fees have become the fastest growing source of revenue for credit card compaines, jumping from $1.7 billion in 1996 to $7.3 billion in 2002. Late fees now average $29, and most cards have reduced the late payment grace period from 14 days to zero days. In addition to charging late fees, the major credit card companies use the first late payment as an excuse to cancel low, introductory rates--often making a zero-percent card jump to between 22 percent and 29 percent.

New York Times September 22, 2003

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