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The Stinkiest Credit Card Around?

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:


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Selena Maranjian
TMFSelena

Selena Maranjian has been writing for the Fool since 1996 and covers basic investing and personal finance topics. She also prepares the Fool's syndicated newspaper column and has written or co-written a number of Fool books. For more financial and non-financial fare (as well as silly things), follow her on Twitter...

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