A bad movie can be entertaining. A review of a bad movie almost always is. But a bad credit card? Well, I can find some humor in that -- but it's always tempered with sadness, because some people will invariably sign up for such a thing, and will pay for it.
I recently ran across a description of the "world's worst credit card" at consumerist.com: the Continental Finance MasterCard. I'll note upfront that in the card issuer's own words, it "was developed specifically for individuals with bad credit or those who had a previous bankruptcy. It is riskier, and consequently more expensive, to issue credit cards to individuals with a poor credit history."
Okay, fair enough. So just how bad is this card? Well, it has a $300 credit limit, but you'll spend more than that just to get and keep the card. The fees include $99 to set up the account, and $49 as an annual fee. It costs you $89 for a "program participation fee," too. Oh, and you know that annual fee? Well, that's separate from the monthly "account maintenance fee" of $10 ($120 per year!). The interest rate on purchases: 20%.
The card even charges you $4 each time you make an Internet payment. When I read about credit limit increases, I thought I understood that if you want to increase your credit limit, which it will consider doing in $100 increments, it will charge you $25 each time. But no -- it seems that it will automatically upgrade your limit as soon as you qualify for a higher one, in $100 increments, charging you that $25 each time. So you might spend a year going from a $300 limit to a $1,000 limit -- and get charged $175 for the privilege. Nice.
I was relieved to at least see that the card was issued by a relatively small bank. If credit card titans such as Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) or American Express (NYSE: AXP ) decided to put their marketing might behind such a card, they could probably ensnare many more suckers.
Learn much more about credit cards in our Credit Center, and check out the following articles: