Wednesday

Bank Ripoff Rivals Car Dealers

Car dealers aren't the only ones who try to rip off consumers. Today let's look at banks, First Premier Bank and their credit card program specifically. Their logo says "Financial Services From a Different Perspective" and boy is that ever true.

These bank guys are really clever.

They've got a credit card program "to help people re-establish their credit" with a low limit credit card, usually $250 to $300. Problem is, the bank charges all sorts of fees up front (and along the way) that take up most of the credit limit they give you, to which they can add interest and late charges to boot, of course!

For the privilege of getting one of their credit cards with a $300 limit, the bank slaps on fees practically every time you seem to turn around. An example: "Account Set-up Fee: $29.00 (one-time fee)" plus a "Program Fee: $95.00 (one-time fee)" plus an "Annual Fee: $48.00" plus a "Participation Fee: $72.00 Annually" too. Just what is an account set up fee, and what exactly are you "participating" in?

Oh, I forgot the late payment fee too (in case the mailman doesn't deliver your payment on time). That's another $25.
And to wire them money to pay your account (if the mailman didn't get there on time) there's another $5.00 charge JUST FOR THEM TO RECEIVE YOUR MONEY. That one's really clever; sort of like saying "give me your money and you have to pay me extra for giving me your money too"

And if you go over your credit limit (which won't be hard to do since you start out with a high balance on a low limit card in the first place), that's another $25 charge. You say you want to increase your credit limit? That's another $25 fee. Want to use the internet to check your account? There's goes another charge on your account, $3.95.

In a stroke of frankness, they admit that "
If you are assigned the minimum credit limit of $250 your initial available credit will be $72 ($52 if you select the additional card option)." But if you want to get a cash advance on your credit card when you get it in the mail (oh yeah, they charge for "express delivery" of your credit card too)? Well you can only get 10% of the available credit so how does $7.20 cash advance sound?

They also charge $3 for copy charges...what's getting copied? Who knows, but you can bet you'll be paying for it.

They get you going and coming...these guys even get you if you stand still!

Oh, and just to make sure the consumer gets nailed to the wall, if you try to dispute anything you are stuck with the bank's binding arbitration clause too. They don't tell you how much it will cost you to use their private arbitration system, but you can bet there's a fee there too! We think that private arbitration systems are a rip off and you can read why by clicking right here.

I'm not the first one to hear bad things about First Premier Bank's program and I probably won't be the last. Check out all the complaints about them at Rip-off Report.com.

This is financial services from a different perspective? You got that right!

But I will say one thing for them: you do get a Gold colored credit card. Good thing that it looks impressive because you'll be paying for it a very long time.